The construction of atom models: Eliminative inductivism and its relation to falsificationism

Foundations of Science 5 (4):491-531 (2000)
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Falsificationism has dominated 20th century philosophy of science. It seemed to have eclipsed all forms of inductivism. Yet recent debates have revived a specific form of eliminative inductivism, the basic ideas of which go back to F. Bacon and J.S. Mill. These modern endorsements of eliminative inductivism claim to show that progressive problem solving is possible using induction, rather than falsification as a method of justification. But this common ground between falsificationism and eliminative inductivism has not led to a detailed investigation into the relationship, if any, which may exist between these two methodologies. This paper reviews several versions of eliminative inductivism, establishes a natural relation between eliminative inductivism and falsificationism, which derives from the distinction between models and theories, and carries out this investigation against a case study of the construction of atom models. The result of the investigation is that falsificationism is a form of eliminative inductivism in the limit of certain constraints.



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