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“— It would be possible to do a lengthy dialectical number on this;”

Myrvold, Wayne C. (2019) “— It would be possible to do a lengthy dialectical number on this;”. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Philosophers have, it seems, been beguiled by contingencies of the evolution of scientific language. These contingencies can obscure the nature of theoretical shifts. Retention of a term can obscure a radical theoretical shift, and abandonment of a term can obscure continuity of theory. In this paper, I consider the cases of caloric and the
luminiferous ether, both of which are often taken to be unproblematic cases of theoretical entities abandoned by
subsequent theories. I invite the reader to consider what we now might be saying were those terms retained, and
argue that this sheds light on the nature of the theoretical shifts involved.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Myrvold, Wayne C.wmyrvold@uwo.ca
Keywords: ether, caloric, scientific realism, structural realism
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Chemistry
Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: Wayne Myrvold
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2019 00:41
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2019 00:41
Item ID: 16675
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Chemistry
Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Date: November 2019
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16675

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