Scientific Realism: The Sommerfeld Miracle



Scientific Realism: “The Sommerfeld Miracle”  Miércoles 1 de Marzo 16:00-18:00 hrs.  Aula Luis Villoro, IIF-UNAM.     PETER VICKERS (DURHAM UNIVERSITY)


A ‘no miracles’ argument is still prevalent in the scientific realism debate, even if a lot has changed since Putnam’s formulation of it, and even if the word ‘miracle’ is generally avoided. For example, realists think that if the most central ‘working’ parts of a scientific theory were not even approximately true (for any serious theory of ‘approximate truth’), then it would be incredibly unlikely (loosely speaking ‘miraculous’) for that theory to deliver successful novel predictions with ‘perfect’ quantitative accuracy (e.g. to several significant figures). But this is precisely what we do indeed find in the case of Sommerfeld’s prediction of the hydrogen fine structure spectral lines. This paper explores possible scientific realist responses to this dramatic historical challenge.




Actualizado Feb 17 de 2017
Mar 26 de 2017
© 2015 Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas - Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México