Synthese 136 (1):127 - 133 (2003)
|Abstract||I fear I did not express myself as simply as I might have. My objection to Cao is that something must be ceded to Kuhn. One can of course try to oppose Kuhn's thesis root and branch, but to do so one had better counter his concrete examples, or one had better present an equally persuasive and wide-ranging history, but to a different effect. Perhaps Cao thinks his book provides just such an alternative, but alas, here a history of 20th century field theories simply doesn't cut any ice: it is a history of _normal_ science, in Kuhn's terms, at least the way Cao tells it, devoting no time at all to the development of quantum physics, and hardly any to the discovery of special relativity, the two really revolutionary steps in physics in the last century. True, there remains one other plausible example of revolutionary science, and on this Cao does have something to say: the quantization of gravity. But this revolution is still in the making; one simply doesn't know whether gravity will be accommodated along the lines Cao suggests; one just doesn't know if his â€œgauge field program'â€, â€œgeometric programâ€, and â€œquantum field..|
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