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Convergence strategies for theory assessment

Castellani, Elena (2023) Convergence strategies for theory assessment. [Preprint]

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Abstract

This paper addresses the issue of the import of convergence arguments in theory
assessment. A first part is devoted to making the point of the different types of strategies based on convergence, providing new distinctions with respect to the existing literature. Specific attention is devoted to robustness vs consilience
arguments and one representative example for each category is then discussed
in some detail. These are: (a) Perrin's famous robustness argument on behalf of the atomic hypothesis on the grounds of the concordance of thirteen different
procedures to the same result for the Avogadro number; (b) the consilience argument motivating the trust in the viability of the extra-dimension conjecture in
the context of early string theory. These two cases are expressly chosen in order to highlight possible differences, also including whether the convergence obtains
in terms of empirical or theoretical procedures. Notwithstanding these various
differences, in both cases the evaluation of the assessment strategy similarly
depends, in a significant way, on how the convergence argument is interpreted,
as shown in the final part of the paper.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Castellani, Elenaelena.castellani@unifi.it0000-0001-5314-0179
Additional Information: To appear in Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, special issue on "Non-empirical physics from a historical perspective"
Keywords: Empirical and non-empirical theory assessment; Convergence arguments; Robustness; Consilience; Perrin; Extra dimensions in early string theory
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Theory/Observation
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Elena Castellani
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2023 21:51
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2023 21:51
Item ID: 22868
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Theory/Observation
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 14 December 2023
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/22868

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