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History of Science and the Material Theory of Induction: Einstein’s Quanta, Mercury’s Perihelion

Norton, John D. (2007) History of Science and the Material Theory of Induction: Einstein’s Quanta, Mercury’s Perihelion. In: UNSPECIFIED.


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The use of the material theory of induction to vindicate a scientist’s claims of evidential warrant is illustrated with the cases of Einstein’s thermodynamic argument for light quanta of 1905 and his recovery of the anomalous motion of Mercury from general relativity in 1915. In a survey of other accounts of inductive inference applied to these examples, I show that, if it is to succeed, each account must presume the same material facts as the material theory and, in addition, some general principle of inductive inference not invoked by the material theory. Hence these principles are superfluous and the material theory superior in being more parsimonious.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Norton, John D.
Additional Information: Prepared for &HPS1: First Conference in Integrated History and Philosophy of Science, Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, October 11-14, 2007 For updates, see
Keywords: Induction confirmation Einstein quanta Mercury perihelion material theory
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: John Norton
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2007
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:15
Item ID: 3562

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