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JONATHAN BAIN WEINBERG ON QFT: DEMONSTRATIVE INDUCTION AND
 

Summary: JONATHAN BAIN
WEINBERG ON QFT: DEMONSTRATIVE INDUCTION AND
UNDERDETERMINATION
ABSTRACT. In this essay I examine a recent argument by Steven Weinberg that seeks to
establish local quantum field theory as the only type of quantum theory in accord with the
relevent evidence and satisfying two basic physical principles. I reconstruct the argument as
a demonstrative induction and indicate it's role as a foil to the underdetermination argument
in the debate over scientific realism.
INTRODUCTION1
Much ink has been spilt on the underdetermination thesis in the debate
over scientific realism. In general, anti-realists argue that the theoretical
claims of any given theory are underdetermined by evidence, hence there
are no grounds for belief in them. Recently, Norton (1993; 1994) has
claimed that underdetermination in practice rarely occurs, and explains
this by observing that grounds for belief in a theory can be established
by means other than simple hypothetico-deductive inference. In particular,
he describes how demonstrative induction was used to establish belief in
Planck's quantum hypothesis.2
In this essay, I look at another example of
demonstrative induction; namely, Weinberg's (1995; 1997) argument that

  

Source: Aronov, Boris - Department of Computer and Information Science, Polytechnic University

 

Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences