David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Lena Soler (ed.), Rethinking Scientific Change. Stabilities, Ruptures, Incommensurabilities? Springer. 107--128 (2008)
How does a predecessor theory relate to its successor? According to Heinz Post’s General Correspondence Principle, the successor theory has to account for the em- pirical success of its predecessor. After a critical discussion of this principle, I outline and discuss various kinds of correspondence relations that hold between successive scientific theories. I then look in some detail at a case study from contemporary physics: the various proposals for a theory of high-temperature superconductivity. The aim of this case study is to understand better the prospects and the place of a methodological principle such as the Generalized Correspondence Principle. Generalizing from the case study, I will then argue that some such principle has to be considered, at best, as one tool that might guide scientists in their theoriz- ing. Finally I present a tentative account of why principles such as the Generalized Correspondence Principle work so often and why there is so much continuity in scientific theorizing.
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