Independent testability: The Michelson-Morley and Kennedy-Thorndike experiments

Philosophy of Science 47 (1):1-37 (1980)
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Grunbaum has argued that the Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction hypothesis is not ad hoc since the Kennedy-Thorndike experiment can be used to provide a test that is significantly different from that provided by the Michelson-Morley experiment. In the first part of the paper, I show that the differences claimed by Grunbaum to hold between these two experiments are not sufficient for establishing independent testability. A dilemma is developed: either the Kennedy-Thorndike experiment, because of experimental realities, cannot test the uncontracted Fresnel aether theory, or if experimental difficulties are ignored, the Kennedy-Thorndike experiment degenerates into a version of the Michelson-Morley experiment. The second part of the paper is a feasibility study of the prospects for defining experimental types according to aims of measurement and determination. This approach is applied to the contraction hypothesis, where it is suggested that the usual analysis of independent testability be modified



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Ronald Laymon
Ohio State University

References found in this work

Why did Einstein's programme supersede lorentz's? (I).Elie Zahar - 1973 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 24 (2):95-123.
Ad hoc auxiliary hypotheses and falsificationism.Adolf Grünbaum - 1976 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 27 (4):329-362.
The Concept of an "Ad Hoc" Hypothesis.Jarrett Leplin - 1975 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 5 (4):309.
Newton's bucket experiment.Ronald Laymon - 1978 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 16 (4):399--413.

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