Independent testability and experimental type: Response to Erlichson

Philosophy of Science 49 (2):274-281 (1982)
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One of the things I attempted to do in my paper on independent testability was to illustrate convincingly the very real difficulties of distinguishing between the accidental and essential features of a scientific experiment. The importance of this distinction is that independent testability presumably requires differences that are essential and telling and not merely accidental reflections of existing experimental technique or of the procedural preferences of the experimenter. In the case of the Michelson-Morley and Kennedy-Thorndike experiments, I showed, following a suggestion of M. G. Evans, that Grünbaum's attempt to distinguish these two experiments does not work. I also showed that certain obvious and natural variations of Grünbaum's approach do not adequately distinguish these experiments. So, for example, it will not do simply to claim that MM is characterized by equal arms and KT by unequal arms, since equal arms are required for MM only in the absence of adequate photographic registration methods. But if these methods are not available then KT is not possible. Conversely, if these methods are available, then while both MM and KT are experimentally possible, MM need not be restricted to equal arms.



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Ronald Laymon
Ohio State University

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Use-Novel Predictions and Mendeleev’s Periodic Table: Response to Scerri and Worrall.Samuel Schindler - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (2):265-269.

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References found in this work

Productive Thinking.Max Wertheimer - 1946 - Philosophical Review 55 (3):298.
The Concept of an "Ad Hoc" Hypothesis.Jarrett Leplin - 1975 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 5 (4):309.
The Assessment of Auxiliary Hypotheses.Jarrett Leplin - 1982 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 33 (3):235-249.

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