Demonstrative induction, old and new evidence and the accuracy of the electrostatic inverse square law

Synthese 99 (1):23 - 58 (1994)
Abstract
Maxwell claimed that the electrostatic inverse square law could be deduced from Cavendish's spherical condenser experiment. This is true only if the accuracy claims made by Cavendish and Maxwell are ignored, for both used the inverse square law as a premise in their analyses of experimental accuracy. By so doing, they assumed the very law the accuracy of which the Cavendish experiment was supposed to test. This paper attempts to make rational sense of this apparently circular procedure and to relate it to some variants of traditional problems concerning old and new evidence.
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