Allan Franklin's Transcendental Physics

Abstract
This paper was presented at a session on "Three views of experiment: Atomic parity violations," in which Allan Franklin's study of an episode in the recent history of particle physics was discussed and criticized. Franklin argues in favor of what he calls "the evidence model," a general claim to the effect that physicists' theory choices are based on valid experimental evidence. He contrasts his position to that of the social constructivists, who, according to him, insist that social and cognitive interests, and not the evidence, explains physicists' practical and theoretical judgments. My paper argues that Franklin miscasts the debate between experimental realism and social constructivism, because constructivists do not insist that evidence has no role whatsoever in experimental practice. My position draws lessons from Wittgenstein's later philosophy and ethnomethodological studies of scientific practices. The paper does not aim to support social constructivism against Franklin's arguments, so much as to suggest that the terms of the realist-constructivist debate provide a poor context for the examination of the temporal production of experiments and observations.
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Citations of this work BETA
Allan Franklin (1994). How to Avoid the Experimenters' Regress. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 25 (3):463-491.
B. Godin & Y. Gingras (2002). The Experimenters' Regress: From Skepticism to Argumentation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (1):133-148.
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Andy Pickering (1990). Reason Enough? More on Parity-Violation Experiments and Electroweak Gauge Theory. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:459 - 469.
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Wendy S. Parker (2008). Franklin, Holmes, and the Epistemology of Computer Simulation. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (2):165 – 183.
Allan Franklin (1990). Do Mutants Have to Be Slain, or Do They Die of Natural Causes?: The Case of Atomic Parity Violation Experiments. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:487 - 494.
Allan Franklin (1986). Experiment and the Development of the Theory of Weak Interactions: Fermi's Theory. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:163 - 179.
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