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Miraculous Success? Inconsistency and Untruth in Kirchhoff’s Diffraction Theory

Saatsi, Juha and Vickers, Peter (2010) Miraculous Success? Inconsistency and Untruth in Kirchhoff’s Diffraction Theory. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    Kirchhoff’s diffraction theory is introduced as a new case study in the realism debate. The theory is extremely successful despite being both inconsistent and not even approximately true. Some habitual realist proclamations simply cannot be maintained in the face of Kirchhoff’s theory, as the realist is forced to acknowledge that theoretical success can in some circumstances be explained in terms other than truth. The idiosyncrasy (or otherwise) of Kirchhoff’s case is considered.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Additional Information: Paper forthcoming (2010) in the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
    Keywords: Kirchhoff, Scientific Realism, Predictive Success, No Miracles, Pessimistic Induction, Inconsistency
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
    General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
    Depositing User: Dr Peter Vickers
    Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2010
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:19
    Item ID: 5240
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/5240

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