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

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1):29-46 (2011)
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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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Author Profiles

Juha Saatsi
University of Leeds
Peter Vickers
Durham University