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A structuralist account of the theory-change from Newtonian to Einsteinian physics.

Yang, Kyoung-Eun (2008) A structuralist account of the theory-change from Newtonian to Einsteinian physics. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

Some philosophers - such as Popper and Kuhn - have cited the theory-shift from Newtonian to Einsteinian physics as one of the great scientific revolutions. This thesis argues against this that the shift was 'evolutionary' and exhibits a high degree of continuity (or quasi-continuity). I will develop a view that selects the relationships between events - one specified by dynamical laws at issue - as the essential elements within these two physical theoretical frameworks. This view brings together the dynamical perspective of space-time (developed by Harvey Brown, Robert DiSalle and Nick Huggett) and structuralism (developed by Henri Poincare and Pierre Duhem, and more recently resuscitated by John Worrall). The former view turns our attention away from the structure of space-time to the dynamical laws. While the second view will clarify to what extent the theory-change is evolutionary. The thesis consists of five chapters. The first chapter discusses the failures of existing views on the theory-change. The second chapter develops my own positive view - building, as indicated, on the work of the two aforementioned perspectives. The third and fourth chapters consider detailed aspects of the particular theory-change from Newtonian to Einsteinian physics from the point of view. The final chapter discusses the strengths of my view in comparison to the existing accounts of the theory-change.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Philosophy of Science
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2023

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