Counterfactual histories: The beginning of quantum physics


Abstract
This paper presents a method for investigating counterfactual histories of science. A central notion to our theory of science are "advances" , which are units passed among scientists and which would be conserved in passing from one possible history to another. Advances are connected to each other by nets of causal influence, and we distinguish strong and weak influences. Around sixty types of advances are grouped into ten classes. As our case study, we examine the beginning of the Old Quantum Theory, using a computer to store and process historical information. We describe four plausible possible histories, along with six other implausible ones
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DOI 10.1086/392933
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