By John Losee
Losee covers the interpretations of medical growth from William Whewell via Karl Popper and Imre Lakatos to Thomas Kuhn and past, to the newest modern debates.
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Extra resources for Theories of Scientific Progress: An Introduction
In the above schema, there may be a plurality of causes of phenomenon p. It is possible that B causes p in instances 1 and 3, and that C causes p in instances 2 and 4. Because the possibility of a plurality of causes cannot be ruled out as a possibility, Mill directed the investigator to place greater reliance on the inductive method of difference: 21 M I L L ’S O B J E C T I O N S T O W H E W E L L ’ S H I S T O R I C I S M Instance 1 2 Circumstances ABC BC Phenomena p ∴ A is the cause (qua necessary condition) of p.
To accept Einstein’s conclusion is to abandon a core principle of the Newtonian research program. 11 Lakatos noted as well that a “degenerating” research program subsequently may stage a comeback. This happened in the case of William Prout’s research program (1815) that interpreted the atoms of the chemical elements to be made up of multiple units of hydrogen. Prout’s program received a new lease on life in the twentieth century. It was discovered that many elements occur in nature as mixtures of isotopes.
Lakatos conceded that the appraisal of a research program may change over time. Once again, the Newtonian program is a good example. Adams and Leverrier postulated the existence of a transUranic planet to account for discrepancies between Newtonian calculations and the observed motion of Uranus (1846). This turned out to be a progressive move, since Neptune was found at the predicted position along the zodiac. Several years later, Leverrier advanced a similar hypothesis to account for a discrepancy in the motion of Mercury.
Theories of Scientific Progress: An Introduction by John Losee