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Abstract
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.
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/51.4.771
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References found in this work BETA

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Citations of this work BETA

A New Solution to the Puzzle of Simplicity.Kevin Kelly - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (5):561-573.
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Limiting Skepticism.Vincent F. Hendricks & John Symons - 2011 - Logos and Episteme 2 (2):211–224.
The Co-Discovery of Conservation Laws and Particle Families.Oliver Schulte - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (2):288-314.

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