Waves, particles, and explanatory coherence

Peter Achinstein (1990, 1991) analyses the scientific debate that took place in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries concerning the nature of light. He offers a probabilistic account of the methods employed by both particle theorists and wave theorists, and rejects any analysis of this debate in terms of coherence. He characterizes coherence through reference to William Whewell's writings concerning how "consilience of inductions" establishes an acceptable theory (Whewell, 1847) . Achinstein rejects this analysis because of its vagueness and lack of reference to empirical data, concluding that coherence is insufficient to account for the belief change that took place during the wave-particle debate.
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/48.1.1
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P. Thagard (1998). Ulcers and Bacteria I: Discovery and Acceptance. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 29 (1):107-136.
Paul Thagard (2012). Coherence: The Price is Right. Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (1):42-49.

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