Inferring conservation laws in particle physics: A case study in the problem of induction

This paper develops a means–end analysis of an inductive problem that arises in particle physics: how to infer from observed reactions conservation principles that govern all reactions among elementary particles. I show that there is a reliable inference procedure that is guaranteed to arrive at an empirically adequate set of conservation principles as more and more evidence is obtained. An interesting feature of reliable procedures for finding conservation principles is that in certain precisely defined circumstances they must introduce hidden particles. Among the reliable inductive methods there is a unique procedure that minimizes convergence time as well as the number of times that the method revises its conservation principles. Thus the aims of reliable, fast and steady convergence to an empirically adequate theory single out a unique optimal inference for a given set of observed reactions—including prescriptions for when exactly to introduce hidden particles.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/bjps/51.4.771
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,570
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Oliver Schulte (2008). The Co-Discovery of Conservation Laws and Particle Families. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 39 (2):288-314.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

69 ( #66,094 of 1,938,443 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #281,963 of 1,938,443 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.