Reconsidering the Fresnel–Maxwell theory shift: how the realist can have her cake and EAT it too

This paper takes another look at a case study which has featured prominently in a variety of arguments for rival realist positions. After critically reviewing the previous commentaries of the theory shift that took place in the transition from Fresnel’s ether to Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory of optics, it will defend a slightly different reading of this historical case study. Central to this task is the notion of explanatory approximate truth, a concept which must be carefully analysed to begin with. With this notion properly understood, it will be finally argued, the popular Fresnel-Maxwell case study points towards a novel formulation of scientific realism.
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2005.07.007
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Stephen Yablo (1992). Mental Causation. Philosophical Review 101 (2):245-280.

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