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Historical Magic in Old Quantum Theory?

Vickers, Peter John (2010) Historical Magic in Old Quantum Theory? [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    Two successes of old quantum theory are particularly notable: Bohr’s prediction of the spectral lines of ionised helium, and Sommerfeld’s prediction of the fine-structure of the hydrogen spectral lines. Many scientific realists would like to be able to explain these successes in terms of the truth or approximate truth of the assumptions which fuelled the relevant derivations. In this paper I argue that this will be difficult for the ionised helium success, and is almost certainly impossible for the fine-structure success. Thus I submit that the case against the realist’s thesis that success is indicative of truth is marginally strengthened.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: old quantum theory, selective, realism, prediction
    Subjects: General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
    Depositing User: Dr Peter Vickers
    Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2010
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:20
    Item ID: 5547
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/5547

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