The Crux of Crucial Experiments: Confirmation in Molecular Biology.
I defend the view that single experiments can provide a sufficient reason for preferring one among a group of hypotheses against the widely held belief that “crucial experiments” are impossible. My argument is based on the examination of a historical case from molecular biology, namely the Meselson-Stahl experiment. “The most beautiful experiment in biology”, as it is known, provided the first experimental evidence for the operation of a semi-conservative mechanism of DNA replication, as predicted by Watson and Crick in 1953. I use a mechanistic account of explanation to show that this case is best construed as an inference to the best explanation (IBE). Furthermore, I show how such an account can deal with Duhem's well-known arguments against crucial experiments as well as Van Fraassen's “bad lot” argument against IBE.
Conference or Workshop Item
||Confirmation, induction, molecular biology, DNA replication, crucial experiments, inference to the best explanation
||General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
||06 Mar 2007
||07 Oct 2010 15:14
Available Versions of this Item
The Crux of Crucial Experiments: Confirmation in Molecular Biology. (deposited 06 Mar 2007)
Monthly Views for the past 3 years
Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years
Actions (login required)