David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):1-19 (2012)
Two successes of old quantum theory are particularly notable: Bohr’s prediction of the spectral lines of ionised helium, and Sommerfeld’s prediction of the fine-structure of the hydrogen spectral lines. Many scientific realists would like to be able to explain these successes in terms of the truth or approximate truth of the assumptions which fuelled the relevant derivations. In this paper I argue that this will be difficult for the ionised helium success, and is almost certainly impossible for the fine-structure success. Thus I submit that the case against the realist’s thesis that success is indicative of truth is marginally strengthened
|Keywords||Old quantum theory Hydrogen Spectral lines Fine structure Bohr Sommerfeld Realism Spin|
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L. C. Biedenharn (1983). The “Sommerfeld Puzzle” Revisited and Resolved. Foundations of Physics 13 (1):13-34.
Anjan Chakravartty (2007). A Metaphysics for Scientific Realism: Knowing the Unobservable. Cambridge University Press.
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Citations of this work BETA
Peter Vickers (2013). A Confrontation of Convergent Realism. Philosophy of Science 80 (2):189-211.
Helge Kragh (2012). The Isotope Effect: Prediction, Discussion, and Discovery. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 43 (3):176-183.
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