Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

An analysis of Doppelt's defense of Kuhnian relativism as applied to the chemical revolution Foulks, Frederick Spencer 1991

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-UBC_1991_A8 F68.pdf [ 8.01MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0098744.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0098744-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0098744-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0098744-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0098744-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0098744-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0098744-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0098744-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0098744.ris

Full Text

AN ANALYSIS OF DOPPELT•S DEFENSE OF KUHNIAN RELATIVISM AS APPLIED TO THE CHEMICAL REVOLUTION by FREDERICK SPENCER FOULKS B.A., The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 1986. A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIRMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY We accept t h i s t hesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l 1991 @ Frederick Spencer Foulks, 1991 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. (Signature) F r e d e r i c k S . F o u l k s Department of Philosophy The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date 2 2 A p r i l . 1 9 9 1 DE-6 (2/88) Abstract. Doppelt defends the key elements of Kuhn's thesis that s c i e n t i f i c revolutions occur when one paradigm i s replaced by another and that c r u c i a l aspects of competing paradigms are incommensurable. He concedes the merits i n the views of those p o s i t i v i s t c r i t i c s of Kuhn who contend that for paradigms to be comparable t h e i r proponents must be able to communicate with one another, to agree on a common core of meaning for basic concepts and to deal with shared data and problems. However, he maintains that i n i d e n t i f y i n g the problems which are held to be of fundamental importance and i n adopting the standards by which explanatory adequacy i s to be evaluated, r i v a l paradigms do not overlap s u f f i c i e n t l y f o r them to have genuine commensurability. This leads Doppelt to accept Kuhn's version of epistemological r e l a t i v i s m which maintains that the r a t i o n a l i t y of the acceptance of new paradigms by the s c i e n t i f i c community, at l e a s t i n the short-run, has an i r r e d u c i b l e normative dimension that i s strongly conditioned by subjective factors. Doppelt also accepts Kuhn's views with respect to the loss of data, and the question of cumulative progress. The absence of paradigm-neutral external standards allegedly allows each paradigm to assign p r i o r i t y to i t s own i n t e r n a l standards, thus providing persuasive grounds for the incommensurability of competing paradigms and for epistemological r e l a t i v i s m . Nevertheless, he acknowledges i i i that the v a l i d i t y of these arguments over the long term i s a contingent issue which can only be resolved by a c a r e f u l examination of the h i s t o r i c a l evidence. A chemical revolution took place i n the l a t t e r part of the eighteenth century when the oxygen theory replaced that based on hypothetical phlogiston. This t r a n s i t i o n i s frequently c i t e d as a t y p i c a l example of a paradigm - one that i l l u s t r a t e s Kuhn's claims for a s h i f t i n standards and a loss of data as central features of s c i e n t i f i c revolutions. The phlogiston theory held that phlogiston was a normal constituent of a i r . I t explained smelting as the t r a n s f e r of phlogiston from the a i r (or from phlogiston-rich charcoal) to the earthy components of the ore, and held that the s i m i l a r properties of the m e t a l l i c products could be a t t r i b u t e d to t h e i r phlogiston content. Combustion, including the c a l c i n a t i o n of metals and the r e s p i r a t i o n of l i v i n g organisms, was viewed as a process involving the release of phlogiston to the atmosphere. The development of improved techniques for c o l l e c t i n g gases and f o r measuring t h e i r volume and weight lead to emphasis on precise quantitative methods for evaluating chemical data as d i s t i n c t from those based on simple quantitative descriptive observations. These developments soon posed d i f f i c u l t i e s for the phlogiston theory (eg.,the anomalous weight loss during combustion). Eventually, c l a r i f i c a t i o n of the composition of water and the use of the 'nitrous a i r 1 t e s t for the a b i l i t y of a gas to support combustion and r e s p i r a t i o n ( i t s i v 'goodness') led to the discovery of oxygen as a component of a i r and the demonstration that combustion involved combination with an exact quantity of t h i s gas. Within a r e l a t i v e l y short period of time, the oxygen theory gained general acceptance and the phlogiston theory was abandoned by most chemists. A c r i t i c a l examination of the events which culminated i n the chemical revolution f a i l s to bear out the claim that i t was accompanied by a s i g n i f i c a n t loss of empirical data or that i t d i d not represent genuine cumulative progress i n s c i e n t i f i c knowledge. Instead the h i s t o r y of t h i s revolution indicates that paradigm-neutral external standards for evaluating explanatory adequacy (conservatism, modesty, s i m p l i c i t y , generality, i n t e r n a l and external coherence, r e f u t a b i l i t y , precision, successful predictions) were availa b l e and played a c r u c i a l r o l e i n bringing about t h i s t r a n s i t i o n . Accumulating e v i d e n t i a l warrant played the decisive r o l e i n the triumph of the oxygen theory. V TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT i i LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS v i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS v i i Chapter. I. INTRODUCTION 1 I I . DOPPELT'S DEFENSE OF KUHNIAN RELATIVISM...4 I I I . THE CHEMICAL REVOLUTION AS A MODEL OF PARADIGM SHIFT 52 IV. EVALUATION OF DOPPELT 1 S ARGUMENT 103 V. CONCLUSIONS 165 VI. BIBLIOGRAPHY 168 v i LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Figure 1. P r i e s t l e y ' s method of heating red oxide of mercury with a burning lens 64 v i i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I am gr a t e f u l to Professor John Stewart f o r advice and guidance during the preparation of t h i s t h e s i s . 1 I. Introduction Gerald Doppelt maintains that Thomas Kuhn's The  Structure Of S c i e n t i f i c Revolutions presents a powerful epistemological 'alternative' to the ' p o s i t i v i s t * conception of science by bringing out important aspects of the h i s t o r i c a l development of s c i e n t i f i c theory which i s not given s u f f i c i e n t attention i n p o s i t i v i s t accounts. In addition, i t i s h i s opinion that the arguments of both Dudley Shapere and I s r a e l S c h e f f l e r i n t h e i r defense of various facets of a p o s i t i v i s t account of s c i e n t i f i c development and t h e i r c r i t i c i s m s of Kuhn's r e l a t i v i s t i c view f a i l s to do j u s t i c e to the dominant thread of epistemological argument i n Kuhn's p o s i t i o n which gives i t f a r more p l a u s i b i l i t y , i n t e r n a l coherence, and systematic s i g n i f i c a n c e than i s portrayed i n the p o s i t i v i s t view. However, Doppelt points out that even those who acknowledge Kuhn's contribution to the development of an h i s t o r i c a l perspective of science have argued that h i s outlook does not sustain h i s epistemological r e l a t i v i s m and the^ main arguments for h i s t h e s i s concerning the 'incommensurability' of r i v a l s c i e n t i f i c paradigms. Doppelt's primary objective i s to argue that the p o s i t i v i s t conception of science i s mistaken and that the incommensurability of paradigms i s correct. Doppelt states that The r a d i c a l thrust of Kuhn's r e l a t i v i s m i s the denial of the view, shared by p o s i t i v i s t s , p r a c t i s i n g 2 s c i e n t i s t s , and the layman, that l a t e r or contemporary s c i e n t i f i c theories constitute more r a t i o n a l , f a i t h f u l , comprehensive, and deep accounts of the way the world i s than t h e i r predecessors. Interrelated to t h i s claim i s Rutin's r e j e c t i o n of the view that the explanatory s u p e r i o r i t y (on balance) of one paradigm over another r e l a t i v e to a common set of c r i t e r i a constitutes the decisive reason a c t u a l l y at work i n s c i e n t i s t s ' t r a n s i t i o n from an established theory to i t s revolutionary a l t e r n a t i v e . Kuhn's r e l a t i v i s m hinges on hi s key arguments that competing and h i s t o r i c a l l y successive s c i e n t i f i c theories are 'incommensurable' with one another: that they are i n some sense s u f f i c i e n t l y d i f f e r e n t , disparate, incongruous r e l a t i v e to one another to block the p o s s i b i l i t y of comparative evaluation on the same scale of c r i t e r i a . Furthermore, the incommensurability of r i v a l s c i e n t i f i c paradigms i s based on the d i s p a r i t y , or incongruity between the following of t h e i r elements: (1) because they do not speak the same s c i e n t i f i c language, (2) because they do not address, acknowledge, or perceive the same observational data, (3) because they are not concerned to answer the same questions, or resolve the same problems, and (4) because they do not construe what counts as an adequate, or even legitimate, explanation i n the same way.2 However, Doppelt maintains that these elements that constitute the basis for incommensurability are not incompatible or unrelated but they do show some substantial ambiguous aspects and tensions within Kuhn's p o s i t i o n for incommensurability. •••Gerald Doppelt, "Kuhn's Epistemological Relativism: An Interpretation and Defense," In Relativism: Cognitive and  Moral, ed. Jack W. Meiland and Michael Krausz, (London: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), 114. Reprinted from Inquiry. 21 (1979). 21bid. 3 Thus Doppelt argues that we are led by Kuhn to the conclusion that when paradigms are compared, t h i s i s done i n the absence of shared s c i e n t i f i c concepts, observational data, t h e o r e t i c a l problems, and c r i t e r i a of explanatory adequacy which stand independently of r i v a l paradigms and i n whose terms they can be commonly assessed. Without these common desiderata shared by the r i v a l theories that punctuate s c i e n t i f i c development, judgments of progress toward the truth, r a t i o n a l l y compelling argument between r i v a l s , and the existence of s u f f i c i e n t reasons for t r a n s f e r r i n g t h e o r e t i c a l allegiance from one to another also seem to go by the wayside. 3 3 I b i d . , 115. 4 I I . Doppelt's Defense of Kuhnian Relativism For Doppelt there are e s s e n t i a l l y two questions to be answered with respect to Kuhn's view of the nature of incommensurability between paradigms. The f i r s t question pertains to which of the previously stated elements i s pr i m a r i l y responsible for explaining and j u s t i f y i n g other aspects of incommensurability and which i s the most fundamental for r e l a t i v i s m i n general. The second question i s concerned with the degree to which r i v a l paradigms are disparate,as well as to determine j u s t how much dis c o n t i n u i t y between paradigms i s necessary i n order to j u s t i f y the extent of Kuhn's intended r e l a t i v i s m . 4 Doppelt contends that the e s s e n t i a l feature of both Sc h e f f l e r ' s and Shapere's inte r p r e t a t i o n of Kuhn i s one that t r e a t s the incommensurability of r i v a l s c i e n t i f i c concepts or languages as the e s s e n t i a l feature or ground of Kuhn's re l a t i v i s m . In addition, t h e i r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Kuhn's analysis i s that he maintains that there i s an absolute and extreme di s c o n t i n u i t y between competing paradigms that e f f e c t i v e l y blocks any l o g i c a l contact between them. 5 Furthermore, According to S c h e f f l e r and Shapere's l i n e of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . . . ( c a l l i t the 'ne o - p o s i t i v i s t ' 4 I b i d . 5 I b i d . 5 in t e r p r e t a t i o n ) , Kuhn's r e l a t i v i s m depends on h i s key claim that every s c i e n t i f i c paradigm i s e s s e n t i a l l y imprisoned within (1) i t s own unique and untranslatable language, or conceptual framework; and i t i s f o r t h i s reason that r i v a l paradigms cannot share, thus do not, share commonly formulatable (2) observational data, (3) t h e o r e t i c a l problems, and (4) c r i t e r i a of explanatory adequacy. On t h i s n e o - p o s i t i v i s t interpretation, Kuhn's r e l a t i v i s m hinges on a thorough going conceptual r e l a t i v i s m and related h o l i s t i c doctrine of s c i e n t i f i c meaning; according to the r e l a t i v i s m so construed, everything a paradigm does - what i t sees, the data i t recognizes, the questions i t poses, the explanations i t o f f e r s a l l necessarily presuppose i n every instance i t s own sp e c i a l and untranslatable t h e o r e t i c a l concepts. As a r e s u l t , r i v a l paradigms cannot seek to explain the same observational data or answer the same questions concerning these data. This becomes Kuhn's most basic point of disagreement with a p o s i t i v i s t conception of science. 7 On the other hand, Doppelt points out that a p o s i t i v i s t account acknowledges that every new s c i e n t i f i c theory may have i t s own special t h e o r e t i c a l concepts and assumptions. However, i n sp i t e of t h i s i t i s asserted by the p o s i t i v i s t view that there e x i s t s an independent or neutral observational language that provides some es s e n t i a l overlap between paradigms so that there remains a common core of meaning fo r basic t h e o r e t i c a l concepts even when there i s a change from one paradigm to another. 8 In other words, there i s body of language that i s paradigm neutral i n respect to the s p e c i f i c s c i e n t i f i c theories or paradigms being compared, and t h i s l i n g u i s t i c core provides adequate means for 6 I b i d . 7Ibid.,116. 8 I b i d . comparing the in d i v i d u a l merits of competing theories. Thus contrary to Kuhn, "positivism maintains that i t i s p r e c i s e l y t h i s continuity i n s c i e n t i f i c discourse which i s presupposed i n the very p o s s i b i l i t y of the v a l i d a t i o n of one theory as against another ([9}, pp.47-66)." 9 Doppelt acknowledges that given Shapere and Scheffler's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Kuhn's argument, and t h e i r emphasis on the most r a d i c a l aspects of hi s pos i t i o n , i t i s easy to see how t h e i r c r i t i c i s m of Kuhn develops. For example, under t h e i r reading of h i s view, r i v a l paradigms lack any access to a common language, and thus they cannot be meaningfully compared. According to Scheffler, Kuhn maintains that incommensurable theories must also be incomparable. And as a re s u l t "there can be nothing l i k e genuine communication between r i v a l paradigms, not to speak of r a t i o n a l argument or suasion ([9], pp.16-17)." 1 0 I f the d i s p a r i t y between paradigms i s so great that they can share no common discourse, then there i s no basis for ra t i o n a l debate and one must see the s h i f t of allegiance from one paradigm to another as a process of 'conversion' or a 'leap of f a i t h ' where one i s some how mystically converted to a new nomenclature, rather than being led to a r a t i o n a l acceptance of a more sound body of b e l i e f s . 1 1 Thus, from a 9 I b i d . , where [9] refers to: I s r a e l Scheffler, Science and Sub j e c t i v i t y. (Indianapolis;Bobbs-Merrill, 1967), 47-66. 1 0 I b i d . " I b i d . 7 p o s i t i v i s t point of view, i n order for Kuhn to explain the t r a n s i t i o n from one paradigm to another he must invoke "non-s c i e n t i f i c or i r r a t i o n a l factors - such as the age, professional t r a i n i n g or past career of the s c i e n t i s t i n q u e s t i o n . " 1 2 Thus, these c r i t i c s (Scheffler and Shapere) maintain that, "by imprisoning every s c i e n t i f i c paradigm i n i t s own world of uncommunicable meanings, Kuhn e f f e c t i v e l y reduces the l o g i c of s c i e n t i f i c development to the psychology and sociology of 'conversion', mystical 'gestalt switches' from one way of 'seeing' the world to another ([9], pp. 18-19, 76-77;[10], pp. 366-8)." 1 3 Doppelt recognizes that i f we accept the S c h e f f l e r -Shapere assessment of Kuhn, then t h e i r c r i t i c i s m s against Kuhn's p o s i t i o n are v a l i d . For example, i t can be argued that i f r i v a l s c i e n t i f i c paradigms are as insular, s e l f -enclosed, and imprisoned within t h e i r own language as Kuhn maintains, i n what sense can they be r i v a l s or compete? I f they cannot communicate or argue, how and on what can they disagree? I f each i s necessarily focussed on i t s own data and problems, i n what sense do they o f f e r incompatible accounts of the same subject-matter or domain? The c l e a r implication i s that Kuhn's incommensurability cannot account f o r the evident facts of t h e o r e t i c a l c o n f l i c t i n s c i e n t i f i c development ([9], p. 82; [11] p.391). 1 4 • " i b i d . 1 3 l b i d . , 117. where [9] refe r s to: Scheffl e r , 1967. Science and Subjec t i v i t y , and [10] i s , Scheffl e r , "Vision and Revolution: A Postscript on Kuhn", Philosophy of Science, 39 (1972): 366-74. 1 4 I b i d . where [9] refe r s to: Scheffler, Science and  Sub j e c t i v i t y . and where [11] i s , Dudley Shapere, "The Structure of S c i e n t i f i c Revolutions", The Philosophical  Review. 73 (1964): 383-94. 8 In addition he points out that Kuhn has some d i f f i c u l t y i n g i v i n g a completely s a t i s f a c t o r y or consistent explanation of the r o l e anomalies are supposed to play i n the development of science. I f one i s confronted with an anomaly for a p a r t i c u l a r paradigm which i s not an anomaly f o r an a l t e r n a t i v e paradigm, then on Doppelt's view t h i s means that there i s a commonly definable observational point of contact between competing paradigms. 1 5 Doppelt holds that "an •anomaly' i s an observed datum which the established paradigm cannot handle but which the new paradigm resolves i n a way that lends i t some i n i t i a l c r e d i b i l i t y . I f r i v a l paradigms can thus speak to the same empirical s i t u a t i o n , they must share some common concepts, data, and problems." 1 6 However, t h i s does not seem possible on Kuhn's account. Thus, Doppelt concludes that "Kuhn i s inconsistent and must v i o l a t e his own r e l a t i v i s m i n developing a half-way p l a u s i b l e account of s c i e n t i f i c development. Indeed Sc h e f f l e r suggests that Kuhn's anomalies are simply the p o s i t i v i s t ' s f a l s i f y i n g or disconfirming evidence i n disguise ([9], p.89)." 1 7 Thus, the basis f o r Sc h e f f l e r and Shapere's c r i t i c i s m of Kuhn focuses on "the h o l i s t i c conception of s c i e n t i f i c meaning, which, on t h e i r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , i s the indispensable p i l l a r upon which Kuhn's en t i r e incommensurability argument r e s t s . " 1 8 15 16 17 18 Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. 9 Doppelt disputes " t h i s p o s i t i o n - despite the fa c t that i t does capture some st r a i n s i n Kuhn's complicated argument" 1 9. He admits that there i s much i n Kuhn that supports the Shapere-Scheffler i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . However, Doppelt dispenses with S c h e f f l e r and Shapere's c r i t i c i s m s of Kuhn by o f f e r i n g a d i s t i n c t l y d i f f e r e n t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n and emphasis, rather than d i r e c t l y attacking the v a l i d i t y of t h e i r analysis. Doppelt proceeds to develop and defend what he believes to be the strongest aspect of Kuhn's epistemological r e l a t i v i s m . He maintains that according to his i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Kuhn's r e l a t i v i s m , " i t i s the incommensurability of s c i e n t i f i c problems between r i v a l paradigms and not that of meanings which constitutes the most 2 0 basic premise of the argument." Thus, Doppelt argues "that the incommensurability of s c i e n t i f i c problems provides the cen t r a l basis f o r ex p l i c a t i n g and j u s t i f y i n g the r e l a t i v i s m 2 1 • • • argument as a whole." I t w i l l be my intention to deal with Doppelt's in t e r p r e t a t i o n of Kuhn's p o s i t i o n as i t stands, rather than argue which inte r p r e t a t i o n i s the correct one. However, I w i l l attempt to evaluate Doppelt*s in t e r p r e t a t i o n of Kuhn's r e l a t i v i s m and to argue against i t as an accurate construal of the way i n which s c i e n t i f i c theories a c t u a l l y evolve. For t h i s purpose, a more det a i l e d examination of Doppelt's defense of Kuhn's po s i t i o n w i l l be necessary. 19 20 21 Ibid., 115. Ibid., 118. Ibid.,115. 10 On Doppelt's inte r p r e t a t i o n paradigms w i l l s t i l l be incommensurable although they can at the same time have a large degree of overlap between language, problems, observational data and even some of the standards that guide s c i e n t i f i c research as well as the standards by which we evaluate the merits of r i v a l paradigms and theories. By providing these points of contact between r i v a l paradigms Doppelt hopes to give a somewhat more pl a u s i b l e account of h i s t o r i c a l change from one paradigm to another and s t i l l leave some room for an ex p l i c a t i o n of the r a t i o n a l debate that i s responsible for the decision to change paradigms and the j u s t i f i c a t i o n which supports such changes. Thus, unlike Scheffler's and Shapere's in t e r p r e t a t i o n of Kuhn, paradigms can be seen as not e n t i r e l y imprisoned within t h e i r own conceptual schemes. Moreover, on Doppelt's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Kuhn there i s no absolute epistemological break between paradigms, i n as much as they can share important common features. Nevertheless, for Doppelt "there i s i n s u f f i c i e n t overlap i n the problems and standards of r i v a l paradigms to rank them on the same scale of • • 2 2 • • c r i t e r i a . " Doppelt claims that the choice to embrace a new paradigm i s not ' i r r a t i o n a l 1 and that there also i s some sense i n which s c i e n t i f i c progress takes place. On the other hand, he asserts "that the balance of reasons or the demands of s c i e n t i f i c r a t i o n a l i t y never unequivocally favor one paradigm (either the old or the new) over i t s r i v a l ; and 2 2 I b i d . , 118. 11 secondly, that i n consequence, contemporary paradigms do not represent progress over what they replace i n the sense of progress toward the truth concerning n a t u r e . " 2 3 Doppelt quotes Kuhn to show the importance Kuhn assigns to p a r t i c u l a r problems which are considered to be the most c r u c i a l or basic and to differences i n the standards used to evaluate explanatory adequacy as the major factors responsible for the incommensurability of r i v a l paradigms. But paradigms d i f f e r i n more than substance, f o r they are directed not only to nature but also back upon the science that produced them. . . . As a r e s u l t , the reception of a new paradigm often necessitates a r e d e f i n i t i o n of the corresponding science. Some old problems may be relegated to another science, or declared e n t i r e l y ' u n s c i e n t i f i c . ' Others that were previously non-existent or t r i v i a l may, with a new paradigm, become the very archetypes of s i g n i f i c a n t achievement. And as the problems change, so often, does the standard that distinguishes a r e a l s c i e n t i f i c solution from a mere metaphysical speculation, word game, or mathematical play. The no r m a l - s c i e n t i f i c t r a d i t i o n that emerges from a s c i e n t i f i c revolution i s not only incompatible but often a c t u a l l y incommensurable with that which had gone before. ([1], p.103) By s h i f t i n g emphasis from the cognitive to the normative function of paradigms, the preceding examples enlarge our understanding of the ways i n which paradigms give form to the s c i e n t i f i c l i f e . . . when paradigms change, there are usually s i g n i f i c a n t s h i f t s i n the c r i t e r i a determining the legitimacy both of problems and of proposed sol u t i o n . . . . That observation returns to the point from which t h i s section began. . . . To the extent . . . that two s c i e n t i f i c schools disagree about what i s a problem and what a solution, they w i l l i n e v i t a b l y t a l k through each other when debating the r e l a t i v e merits of t h e i r respective paradigms. In the p a r t i a l l y c i r c u l a r arguments that reg u l a r l y r e s u l t , each paradigm w i l l be shown to s a t i s f y more or less 2 3 I b i d . 12 the c r i t e r i a i t dictates for i t s e l f and to f a l l short of those dictated by i t s opponent . . . since no paradigm ever solves a l l the problems i t defines and since no two paradigms leave a l l the same problems unsolved, paradigm debates always involve the question: which problems i s i t more s i g n i f i c a n t to have solved? ([1], pp. 109-10) 2 4 Thus, an important aspect of Doppelt's inter p r e t a t i o n , i s h i s view that the "most revolutionary dimension of a new paradigm . . . i s the fact that the new paradigm implies a s h i f t of commitment to a new set of t h e o r e t i c a l problems as the 'core' of the d i s c i p l i n e - substantively d i f f e r e n t from the problematic which defined the hard core of science under • 2 5 the old paradigm." He claims that even "though r i v a l paradigms share some of the same problems, they do not weigh t h e i r importance i n the same way, assigning them d i f f e r e n t orders of s i g n i f i c a n c e and p r i o r i t y i n the achievement of what w i l l count as the success of a paradigm, or a l t e r n a t i v e l y , a t o l e r a b l e l e v e l of f a i l u r e . " 2 6 Doppelt concludes that, "the primary claim advanced by incommensurability i n Kuhn i s that the standards of adequacy each paradigm i m p l i c i t l y sets for i t s e l f are s u f f i c i e n t l y disparate from one to the next to block any uniform basis for a judgment that one i s , on balance, more reasonable to accept • 2 7 • than i t s r i v a l . " Hence, the main point of emphasis on t h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s that incommensurability i s the r e s u l t of the f a c t that these "incompatible standards, are generated 2 4Ibid.,119-120. where [1] i s Thomas S. Kuhn, The  Structure Of S c i e n t i f i c Revolutions 2nd ed., (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970). 2 5 I b i d . , 120. 2 6 I b i d . 2 7 I b i d . from each paradigm's tendency to disagree as to what counts as the fundamental problems any paradigm i n the f i e l d ought to s o l v e . " 2 8 Thus stress i s placed on the normative rather than the cognitive aspect of t h i s issue. In emphasizing t h i s central point of h i s construal, Doppelt admits that during periods of paradigm debate there i s often a 'communication breakdown', so that combatants t a l k at ' cross-purposes' . He contends that t h i s breakdown i s not caused by the lack of a common language, but takes place because s c i e n t i s t s "lack a s u f f i c i e n t l y common d e f i n i t i o n of the d i s c i p l i n e and i t s c r i t e r i a of explanatory adequacy to allow t h e i r discourse to terminate i n r a t i o n a l consensus -even concerning the r e l a t i v e merits and defects of t h e i r paradigms, apart from the key issue of which i s s u p e r i o r . " 2 9 He makes the further claim that " c o n f l i c t between s c i e n t i f i c theories becomes much more l i k e c o n f l i c t s i n e t h i c a l and p o l i t i c a l l i f e than the absolute d i s t i n c t i o n between s c i e n t i f i c and normative discourse advanced by c l a s s i c a l p o s i t i v i s m a l l o w s . " 3 0 Doppelt draws the conclusion that science, l i k e ethics, has an i r r e d u c i b l e normative dimension. Both "embody incompatible answers to the question of which aims, values, and problems ought to dominate and define a c e r t a i n domain of a c t i v i t y . " 3 1 ^ aHarvey Siegel, "Epistemological Relativism i n i t s Latest Form," Inquiry. 23, (1980): 107. 2 9Doppelt, "Kuhn's Epistemological Relativism," 120. 3 0 I b i d . 3 1 I b i d . 14 C r u c i a l to Doppelt 1s reading of Kuhn's incommensurability thesis i s the extent to which each paradigm incorporates i t s own d i s t i n c t i v e standards of explanatory adequacy. For example, even i f paradigms share only p a r t i a l l y overlapping problems, i t would s t i l l be possible f o r them to be commensurable i f they share the same standards of explanatory adequacy. This i s because i f paradigms have standards i n common, each would i d e n t i f y the same set of 'core' problems that the shared standard requires to be solved. However, Doppelt denies that paradigms share the same standards. The main point being stressed by Doppelt i s that incommensurability between paradigms i s not due to the f a c t that d i f f e r e n t paradigms merely i d e n t i f y d i f f e r e n t problems, even i f they are the most basic set of core problems, or even i f these problems are given d i f f e r e n t p r i o r i t i e s . These differences could r e f l e c t only pragmatic considerations such as what i s viewed as the best strategy fo r further research etc. What i s important, i s that fo r Kuhn, these differences gain epistemological s i g n i f i c a n c e because they are b u i l t into the very standards of t h e o r e t i c a l adequacy, the defining aims of the science, i n terms of which each paradigm evaluates i t s e l f and i t s r i v a l s . . . . The kind of problems whose solutions define the standards of good theory f o r any given paradigm are generally resolved to a greater or less degree by that paradigm, but e i t h e r unresolved, unrecognized or consigned to a minor t h e o r e t i c a l importance by i t s r i v a l ( s ) . Each paradigm i m p l i c i t l y defines standards of s c i e n t i f i c adequacy favoring i t s achievements and research program and unfavorable with respect to the work of i t s r i v a l s . 3 2 3 2 I b i d . , 121. 15 Another, substantial point to be considered i s that observational data may also be incommensurable. This i s because r i v a l paradigms address d i f f e r e n t problems, consequently they seek to explain d i f f e r e n t observational data, and the "capacity of each paradigm to explain the range of data which i t s problems define as of key importance generates the major type of c r i t e r i o n of explanatory adequacy Kuhn has i n mind." 3 3 Furthermore, r i v a l "paradigms can share t h i s much and nonetheless exhibit fundamental disagreements i r r e s o l v a b l e by s c i e n t i f i c argument concerning the set of problems and data that any adequate theory must t r e a t ( only some of which they share) ; and the order or p r i o r i t y among these problems i n determining what i s to count as s c i e n t i f i c success, or a tol e r a b l e l e v e l of f a i l u r e (the minimal achievement presupposed by the continuing p l a u s i b i l i t y of a t h e o r y ) . " 3 4 But Doppelt*s reconstruction hinges on the "incommensurability of competing standards of adequacy of r i v a l paradigms. . . . Such incommensurability, at lea s t prima f a c i e , depends on the absence of paradigm-neutral external standards of adequacy by which a paradigm's i n t e r n a l standards can be n o n - r e l a t i v i s t i c a l l y e v a luated." 3 5 Thus, on Doppelt's inte r p r e t a t i o n of Kuhn•s views there are basic non-cumulative differences between successive paradigms which include both problems and observational data and these i n turn contribute to differences i n t h e i r 3 3 I b i d . 3 4 I b i d . , 125. 3 5 S i e g e l , "Latest Form," 110. 16 standards of explanatory adequacy. In short, " r i v a l paradigms are incommensurable because they imply d i f f e r e n t c r i t e r i a of explanatory adequacy, the major c r i t e r i a of each being how well i t answers i t s own d i s t i n c t i v e questions and explains 3 6 i t s own p r i v i l e g e d range of data." Doppelt also claims that anomalies are not inconsistent with other aspects of t h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , as they are i n the ' h o l i s t i c ' i n t e r p r e t a t i o n given by Sch e f f l e r and Shapere. He contends that, "Kuhn makes i t c l e a r that i n s c i e n t i f i c revolution, a new paradigm only p r e v a i l s i f (1) i t resolves data and problems ('anomalies') which have come to be regarded as important but i r r e s o l v a b l e on the old paradigm, and (2) i t also e f f e c t i v e l y deals with some of the old paradigm's other problems (and data) as well as posing 37 and resolving wholly new problems." Doppelt acknowledges that there must be enough common subject matter between r i v a l paradigms for there to be actual c o n f l i c t or disagreement and meaningful debate. On t h i s construal i t i s possible for there to be a f a i r amount of overlap between observational data and problems, providing s u f f i c i e n t continuity between competing paradigms to allow for some r a t i o n a l debate. However, Doppelt argues that there i s not enough overlap for commensurability and t h i s view i s thus consistent with r e l a t i v i s m . Doppelt, "Kuhn's Epistemological Relativism," 122. Ibid. 125. 17 Doppelt maintains that an adequate understanding of Kuhn requires that we make a d i s t i n c t i o n between 'short-run' and •long-run' r e l a t i v i s m . He i d e n t i f i e s two c r i t e r i a by which to judge r e l a t i v i s m when comparing d i f f e r e n t s c i e n t i f i c theories, "(a) the 'loss-of-data' argument and (b) the . 38 'shifts-in-standards• argument." Doppelt argues that Kuhn's strongest "challenge to the p o s i t i v i s t view of progress i n s c i e n t i f i c knowledge turns on the claim that due to losses i n observational explicanda i n s c i e n t i f i c development, i t does not s a t i s f y the p o s i t i v i s t c r i t e r i o n of progress - increasing and cumulative empirical adequacy." 3 9 Relativism implies that inasmuch as each paradigm i n the f i n a l analysis can only be evaluated by i t s own in t e r n a l c r i t e r i a of explanatory adequacy, there i s no basis for judging one to be superior to another, so that no case can be made for progress. Doppelt argues that Kuhn i s correct i n h i s view that a s h i f t from one paradigmatic theory to another w i l l often r e s u l t i n a loss of observational data as well as the abandonment of problems that were addressed i n the replaced theory. However, Doppelt parts company with Kuhn on the question of whether or not i n the long run, theories may 'recoup' the observational data they had previously ( or 'temporarily') l o s t through a paradigm s h i f t . He points out that there " i s nothing i n Kuhn's argumentation or examples 3 8 I b i d . , 127. 3 9 I b i d . 18 which would e s t a b l i s h that future science i n p r i n c i p l e cannot explain a l l of the genuine observational explicanda of other h i s t o r i c a l theories; at best he o f f e r s an inductive argument against the l i k e l i h o o d of t h i s prospect r e l a t i v e to the losses i n data c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of s c i e n t i f i c development up to the p r e s e n t . " 4 0 Doppelt, points out that the most a loss-of-data thesis could p l a u s i b l y e s t a b l i s h i s that at a c e r t a i n point i n i t s development a new theory "exhibits losses with respect to the genuine observational data and problems explained by . . . i t s predecessors." 4 1 Thus, for Doppelt, "Kuhn's long-run r e l a t i v i s m argument i s reduced tp an i n t e r e s t i n g short-run r e l a t i v i s m issue, that depends upon whether or not a new theory i s "cumulative with respect to the observational explicanda of i t s predecessors." 4 2 Doppelt concludes that there i s no philosophical argument that can r u l e out the p o s s i b i l i t y "that 'in the long run' science w i l l recoup a l l of i t s 'temporary' losses i n observational explicanda and thus achieve cumulative pr o g r e s s . " 4 3 Thus, the 'loss-of-data' question i s a contingent proposition, which must be weighed against the h i s t o r i c a l record of s c i e n t i f i c development. In s p i t e of h i s admission that i t i s at l e a s t t h e o r e t i c a l l y possible for science to be cumulative, 40 41 42 43 Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. • / 128. 19 Doppelt i n s i s t s that Kuhn's 'loss-of-data* thesis s t i l l poses an important 'challenge' for the p o s i t i v i s t . For both Doppelt and Kuhn, the p o s i t i v i s t view of " s c i e n t i f i c progress as an increasing and cumulative body of knowledge i s not merely 'the' regulative standard of science which i t 'can' f u l f i l l but i s i n fact the standard a c t u a l l y f u l f i l l e d by contemporary physical t h e o r y . " 4 4 Doppelt has asserted, that the "very notion that s c i e n t i f i c l i f e allows progress seems to presuppose some s i g n i f i c a n t dimension of continuity i n i t s problems, concepts, and standards, however much they otherwise change." 4 5 Furthermore, he points out that any c r i t e r i o n of progress that " f a i l s to incorporate t h i s necessary dimension of continuity . . . i s inadequate." 4 6 Nevertheless, he expresses the view that " p o s i t i v i s t s insistence on t o t a l cumulativity . . . as a condition of progress i s i m p l a u s i b l e . " 4 7 Doppelt concludes h i s treatment of the loss-of-data question, by pointing out that i f i t i s true that there i s a short-run loss-of-data - i f a present theory does not explain a l l of the genuine observational explicanda of a l l of i t s predecessors then t h i s w i l l be s u f f i c i e n t to "unsettle the p o s i t i v i s t assumption that s c i e n t i f i c progress i s unambiguously actualized i n contemporary physical theory. 4 4 I b i d . 4 Gerald Doppelt, "Laudan's Pragmatic Alt e r n a t i v e to P o s i t i v i s t and H i s t o r i c i s t Theories of Science," Inquiry. 24, (1981): 269. 4 6 I b i d . 4 7 I b i d . 20 Defenders of a p o s i t i v i s t account w i l l want to reply to t h i s Kuhnian challenge."* But Doppelt also asserts that even i f a theory deals with a l l of the observational data that i t s predecessor was able to accommodate, t h i s i s not i n i t s e l f an adequate basis from which to conclude that the two theories are commensurable. This i s because, even i f there i s no loss of data from one theory to another " r i v a l paradigms may s t i l l e x h i b i t incompatible c r i t e r i a of t h e o r e t i c a l adequacy, e.g. concerning the non-observational problems to be solved or concerning what counts as a s u f f i c i e n t l y 'simple' or 'accurate' explanation of (shared) observational d a t a . " 4 9 Furthermore, he states that " r i v a l paradigms sometimes maintain incommensurable standards because these standards i m p l i c i t l y j u s t i f y incompatible trade-offs between 's i m p l i c i t y ' , 'accuracy', breadth of observational explicanda', etc ([2], pp. 199; [4], p.262)." 5 0 In short, the r e l a t i v i s t argument e s s e n t i a l l y "denies the existence or relevance of 'external' standards of s c i e n t i f i c evaluation, and requires that theories be evaluated by t h e i r own i n t e r n a l standards." 5 1 Doppelt, "Kuhn's Epistemological Relativism," 129. 4 9 I b i d . , 130. 5 0 I b i d , where [2] i s Kuhn, 'Postscript (1969) to Kuhn Structures. 174-210. and [4] i s Kuhn, 'Reflections on my C r i t i c s ' , In C r i t i c i s m and the Growth of Knowledge, ed. I. Lakatos and A. Musgrave (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.1970): 231-79. 5 1 I b i d . Consequently, Doppelt supports Kuhn's view that a s h i f t i n the standards of evaluation from one paradigm to another challenges the p o s i t i v i s t conception of science, where the c r i t e r i a . of s c i e n t i f i c progress are seen as being better s a t i s f i e d , and accompanied by cumulative empirical adequacy. On the r e l a t i v i s t conception, s c i e n t i f i c evaluation depends on standards that are " i n t e r n a l and s p e c i f i c to p a r t i c u l a r physical theories i n the hi s t o r y of s c i e n c e " , 5 2 and as Doppelt points out, Kuhn's po s i t i o n concerning the s h i f t of standards supports a r e l a t i v i s t c r i t e r i o n of s c i e n t i f i c knowledge. Doppelt agrees with Kuhn that there e x i s t s some s h i f t i n standards from one paradigm to another. However, he seems somewhat more reluctant than Kuhn to accept the conclusion that knowledge i s r e l a t i v e . Doppelt f e e l s that the ' p o s i t i v i s t ' and ' r e l a t i v i s t ' positions regarding s c i e n t i f i c knowledge are not the only ones worthy of consideration, but he does not present any adequate solution, other than to maintain that there are other a l t e r n a t i v e s to these views of the nature of s c i e n t i f i c knowledge. The s h i f t of standards argument maintains "(1) that any physical theory can only be evaluated r e l a t i v e to i t s own standards of adequacy, and (2) that i n f a c t successive physical theories i n the development of science embody d i f f e r e n t , indeed incompatible standards of s c i e n t i f i c valuation." According to t h i s view, "every h i s t o r i c a l 5 2 I b i d . 5 3 I b i d . 22 system of s c i e n t i f i c theory turns out to s a t i s f y i t s own standards of knowledge more adequately than r i v a l or "thus 'best' i n i t s own terms, and there are no other terms by which theories can be evaluated (hence, r e l a t i v i s m ) . " 5 5 This view has been elaborated as follows: Doppelt's reconstruction of Kuhn allows f o r a f a i r amount of ' l o g i c a l contact' between r i v a l paradigms. Nevertheless, such r i v a l s are, on Doppelt's account, incommensurable i n that they embody incompatible attitudes toward the fundamental problems any paradigm i n the f i e l d ought to t r y and solve. Since paradigms disagree as to what the fundamental questions are, they disagree as to the proper standards of explanatory adequacy by which any paradigm i n the f i e l d must be assessed, because each paradigm's standards w i l l be a function of the set of problems each paradigm recognizes as fundamental to the d i s c i p l i n e . Epistemological r e l a t i v i s m , on Doppelt's account, r e s u l t s from the incommensurability of standards of explanatory adequacy of r i v a l paradigms. Since paradigms are incommensurable i n t h i s respect, a paradigm's evaluation i s r e l a t i v e to the standards of adequacy of the paradigm from which one i s evaluating. A paradigm w i l l be assessed variously according to how well i t meets the standards of adequacy of various paradigms -thus w i l l be ( t y p i c a l l y ) superior to P 2, r e l a t i v e to the standards of adequacy of P l f while P 2 w i l l be superior to P]_, r e l a t i v e to the standards of adequacy of P 2. Since and P 2 are incommensurable, they do not share common c r i t e r i a of adequacy (though they may well share c e r t a i n items of observational data, problems, and concepts); and since t h e i r c r i t e r i a of adequacy are incompatible ( i f not, P i and P 2 would not be incommensurable) , t h e i r assessment i s r e l a t i v e to the paradigm-bound c r i t e r i a of adequacy, appealed to i n making such an assessment. However, as already mentioned e a r l i e r , Doppelt seems somewhat reluctant to accept a r e l a t i v i s t i c view of knowledge alternate systems of theory. 11 54 Moreover, each theory i s 54 55 56 Ibid. Ibid. Siegel, "Latest Form," 109-110. which would seem to be ine v i t a b l e i f we accept a 'long-run* s h i f t i n s c i e n t i f i c standards from paradigm to paradigm. I f we are to have a conception of s c i e n t i f i c knowledge i n which we can have some sense of 'progress' from one t r a d i t i o n to another, i t appears necessary that we allow f o r the p o s s i b i l i t y of 'cumulative' development. One important aspect of Doppelt's argument i s h i s contention that Kuhn has provided a persuasive r e l a t i v i s t challenge to the p o s i t i v i s t ' s conception of s c i e n t i f i c r a t i o n a l i t y , at l e a s t i n the 'short run'. The p o s i t i v i s t contends that a s c i e n t i f i c revolution i s characterized by a gradual s h i f t on the part of the bulk of the s c i e n t i f i c community from one paradigm to another on the basis of shared c r i t e r i a of e v i d e n t i a l warrant that are s u f f i c i e n t to make a p a r t i c u l a r change of allegiance compelling and therefore r a t i o n a l . P o s i t i v i s t s argue that, there are 'objective' paradigm-neutral standards which are used to j u s t i f y the r a t i o n a l decisions a s c i e n t i f i c community ac t u a l l y makes, so that s c i e n t i f i c progress can be cumulative with respect to genuine s c i e n t i f i c data. Doppelt concedes that the evolution of theories i n a p a r t i c u l a r s c i e n t i f i c domain such as physics and chemistry can be analyzed or constructed so as to show that i n the 'long-run' successive paradigms do f u l f i l l these p o s i t i v i s t assumptions. Nevertheless, he maintains that i n order to substantiate the p o s i t i v i s t * s conception of s c i e n t i f i c r a t i o n a l i t y , progress and development, i t i s s t i l l necessary 24 to demonstrate h i s t o r i c a l l y that these external standards a c t u a l l y were the one's responsible f o r a p a r t i c u l a r s h i f t i n paradigms (res u l t i n g i n a s c i e n t i f i c revolution). Doppelt admits that i t might be possible to demonstrate that i n the 'long-run' the ultimate evaluation of completed theories may recoup any temporary loss-of-data, or that successful new theories eventually can be shown to meet the p o s i t i v i s t c r i t e r i o n of 'objective' and external paradigm-neutral standards. Nevertheless, i n h i s view short-run r e l a t i v i s m s t i l l represents a serious challenge to the p o s i t i v i s t ' s conception of s c i e n t i f i c r a t i o n a l i t y and development. Doppelt acknowledges that a n o n - r e l a t i v i s t conception of s c i e n t i f i c knowledge can be defended, and that Kuhn's arguments fo r t h i s p o s i t i o n are not always consistent even with h i s own examples. Nevertheless, Doppelt maintains that the p o s i t i v i s t needs to e s t a b l i s h by the h i s t o r i c a l evidence that i n the short-run r a t i o n a l argument was compelling or decisive i n j u s t i f y i n g the v a l i d i t y of the actual decisions made by most members of the relevant s c i e n t i f i c community to switch to a new paradigm. And most importantly, Doppelt maintains that both those who r e t a i n t h e i r allegiance to the old paradigm and those who opt for a s h i f t to a new paradigm are r a t i o n a l i n t h e i r positions. This i s because there i s not enough overlap i n shared standards to make one decision more compelling than another, even though p a r t i a l overlap of problems and standards can permit some debate between competing paradigms. In other words, during a s c i e n t i f i c revolution r i v a l paradigms are claimed to be evaluated p r i m a r i l y i n terms of t h e i r own i n t e r n a l standards of evaluation. Furthermore, Doppelt argues that the r a t i o n a l i t y of the •conversion' that leads s c i e n t i s t s to choose one paradigm over another i s neither compelling from the evidence alone, nor the r e s u l t of a more adequate explanation of the data. He concludes that s o c i o l o g i c a l and psychological factors are mainly responsible for the actual decisions made by s c i e n t i s t s during a revolutionary period. Thus, i t i s asserted that these factors must be incorporated into any h i s t o r i c a l l y accurate understanding of the decision-making process i n order to do j u s t i c e to an epistemologically adequate conception of r a t i o n a l i t y as i t a c t u a l l y operates during s c i e n t i f i c revolutions. Moreover, Doppelt asserts that even i f one acknowledges that i t i s at l e a s t possible, e i t h e r at present or at some future time, to show that successive theories do meet the c r i t e r i a that a p o s i t i v i s t ' s account of s c i e n t i f i c j u s t i f i c a t i o n requires (such that l a t e r theories are shown to provide a more adequate account of the data by v i r t u e of t h e i r being simpler, having greater p r e d i c t i v e success, more general i n t h e i r a p p l i c a b i l i t y e tc), t h i s s t i l l i s not an adequate response to the r e l a t i v i s t ' s 'short-run' challenge to r a t i o n a l i t y . Doppelt argues, that these c r i t e r i a e i t h e r were not always present, or were at l e a s t not decisive when a p a r t i c u l a r s c i e n t i f i c community's choice was made to 26 abandon one paradigm and accept another, such as the choice to t r a n s f e r allegiance from phlogiston to oxygen chemistry. In summary, i t i s Doppelt's b e l i e f that during s c i e n t i f i c revolutions paradigms are evaluated mainly i n terms of t h e i r own contemporary i n t e r n a l standards, and that we cannot use the l a t e r standards of a subsequent theory to evaluate those which preceded i t . He holds that during a s c i e n t i f i c revolution external standards eith e r do not ex i s t or are not relevant to the short-term evaluation of r i v a l paradigms. As a r e s u l t , i t i s claimed that the p o s i t i v i s t * s attempt to analyze s c i e n t i f i c r a t i o n a l i t y i n terms of these external standards i s a d i s t o r t i o n or 'misrepresentation 1 of the actual h i s t o r y of science and the r a t i o n a l process as i t ac t u a l l y works. This contrasts with the p o s i t i v i s t ' s contention that the esse n t i a l nature of s c i e n t i f i c r a t i o n a l i t y requires paradigm-neutral standards f o r the evaluation of s c i e n t i f i c theories. For the p o s i t i v i s t , a decision can be considered to be r a t i o n a l when i t 'more' adequately s a t i s f i e s the c r i t e r i a embedded i n these external standards than i t s r i v a l s do. I t i s t h i s t h e s i s which Doppelt denies as being a s a t i s f a c t o r y account of the actual s c i e n t i f i c decision-making process. And f i n a l l y Doppelt maintains that i f p o s i t i v i s t standards are not s a t i s f i e d i n a l l s c i e n t i f i c revolutions, then t h i s presents an important challenge to the p o s i t i v i s t ' s conception of science and s c i e n t i f i c r a t i o n a l i t y . 27 Of course there i s some question as to j u s t how long a period of time should be involved i n determining exactly what i s to count as 'short-term' or 'long-term' i n Doppelt's view, a problem which might complicate an adequate response. However, i f a rather short time period i s chosen i n which to show that a new paradigm was j u s t i f i e d i n r e l a t i o n to such external standards, we can take i t to s u f f i c e that t h i s i s adequate grounds to make a case for the p o s i t i v i s t view. Doppelt denies neither the p o s s i b i l i t y of there being paradigm-neutral standards nor that, at present or i n the 'long-run', s c i e n t i f i c theories can be h i s t o r i c a l l y • reconstructed' i n an attempt to show that theories eventually recoup t h e i r 'short-term' loss of data and recover t h e i r explanatory adequacy. Thus i t i s possible, at l e a s t i n theory, to demonstrate that the standards of former paradigms eventually can be incorporated into present or future paradigms. In other words, a p a r t i c u l a r paradigm may i n the long-run meet the standards of past paradigms as well as those of i t s own. However, Doppelt, admits that an argument based on the short- run i s a weakened form of the r e l a t i v i s t doctrine. Consequently he argues that the standards of competing paradigms "are 'incompatible' i n a weak sense, but not i n a strong sense which would rul e out 'cumulative' 5 7 progress." Although the adherents of r i v a l paradigms may make d i f f e r e n t judgments as to which i s the better theory, i n Doppelt's view t h i s does not need to imply that the standards 5 7 I b i d . 132. 28 of one theory v i o l a t e the standards of another theory. Doppelt seems to interpret t h i s i n an additive sense where the old standards of the predecessor theory can be incorporated into or subsumed by those of the new theory. For Doppelt, t h i s 'weakened* sense of the inc o m p a t i b i l i t y of successive theories does not ru l e out the p o s s i b i l i t y of cumulative progress, i n contrast to 'strong' incompatibility, where r i v a l paradigms v i o l a t e each other's standards, and as a r e s u l t both sets of standards cannot be f u l f i l l e d . However, i n sp i t e of Doppelt's concessions to the possible existence of paradigm-neutral standards, he remains s c e p t i c a l as to the actual existence of such standards. Furthermore, even i f the p o s i t i v i s t could show that there are such standards, he remains doubtful as to whether they are a c t u a l l y used i n s c i e n t i f i c p r a c t i c e . Therefore, at l e a s t i n the short-run, he holds that they cannot be used to provide an adequate account of s c i e n t i f i c r a t i o n a l i t y , or to allow cumulative progress i n s c i e n t i f i c knowledge. In summary, i t i s Doppelt's p o s i t i o n that even i f i t i s granted that paradigm-neutral 'external' standards may e x i s t , he doubts that they are a c t u a l l y used i n any decisive epistemological way i n regard to the major issues i n the philosophy of science; s c i e n t i f i c r a t i o n a l i t y and the process by which a change to a new paradigm i s j u s t i f i e d . Doppelt acknowledges that whether or not s c i e n t i f i c theories i n fact exhibit incompatible standards of adequacy i n the long-run i s a contingent issue. 29 S t i l l Doppelt s p e c i f i e s , that h i s most fundamental c r i t i c i s m of Kuhn's long-run r e l a t i v i s m concerning s c i e n t i f i c knowledge i s that "Kuhn does not develop any independent philosophical discussion of the nature of s c i e n t i f i c 58 knowledge." In sp i t e of t h i s Doppelt suggests that one a l t e r n a t i v e to r e l a t i v i s m i s that Kuhn's long-run r e l a t i v i s m arguments "can be made compatible with the existence of progress i n science, i f we simply adopt as i t s c r i t e r i o n 'maximal problem solving a b i l i t y ' (which does not require e g , •cumulative' problems or data)." According to Doppelt, Kuhn adopts 'maximal problem solving a b i l i t y ' as a " c r i t e r i o n to formulate the sense i n which he i s 'a convinced b e l i e v e r i n s c i e n t i f i c progress ([2] p.206)." 6 0 This p o s s i b i l i t y has been explored by Laudan who presents a view of science i n which "the r a t i o n a l i t y and progressiveness of a theory are most c l o s e l y linked - not with i t s confirmation or i t s f a l s i f i c a t i o n - but rather with problem solving e f f e c t i v e n e s s . " 6 1 He argues that there are "important non-empirical, even 'n o n - s c i e n t i f i c ' (in the usual sense), factors which have and which should have played a r o l e i n the r a t i o n a l development of s c i e n c e . " 6 2 Furthermore, he urges that we should "drop some of the t r a d i t i o n a l 5 8 I b i d . 5 9 I b i d . , 133. 6 0 I b i d . 6 1 L a r r y Laudan, Progress and Its Problems: Toward a  Theory of S c i e n t i f i c Growth(Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1977): 5. 6 2 I b i d . 30 language and concepts (degree of confirmation, explanatory content, corroboration and the l i k e ) , and see i f a p o t e n t i a l l y more adequate model of s c i e n t i f i c r a t i o n a l i t y begins to emerge. Let us see whether, by asking anew some of the elementary questions about science, we cannot get a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t perspective on s c i e n t i f i c knowledge. 1 , 6 3 Laudan then goes on to argue that science fundamentally aims at the solution of problems. He also maintains that most philosophers of science have mistakenly i d e n t i f i e d the nature of s c i e n t i f i c appraisal by focussing on the indi v i d u a l theory rather than on the research t r a d i t i o n . Moreover, he argues that we need to dis t i n g u i s h between "the r a t i o n a l i t y of acceptance and the r a t i o n a l i t y of pursuit i f we are to make any progress at reconstructing the cognitive dimensions of s c i e n t i f i c a c t i v i t y . 1 1 6 4 Laudan maintains that the evaluation of problem-solving effectiveness i s at lea s t p a r t l y dependent upon a 'world view* that i s held at a p a r t i c u l a r time. I t i s i n t h i s way that he hopes to do j u s t i c e to the h i s t o r i c a l record. Unlike p o s i t i v i s t conceptions that tend to force h i s t o r y to f i t a pre-established model of r a t i o n a l i t y , he attempts to provide a means by which we can judge the r a t i o n a l i t y of various research t r a d i t i o n s without imposing contemporary standards of r a t i o n a l i t y or problem sel e c t i o n and t h e i r solutions upon 6 3 I b i d . , 4. 6 4 I b i d . , 5. 31 past world views. He points out that unencumbered "by modern notions of r a t i o n a l i t y , s c i e n t i s t s of the past had to make decisions about the a c c e p t a b i l i t y of contemporary theories by t h e i r c r i t e r i a rather than by o u r s . " 6 5 Laudan maintains that i f "the h i s t o r i a n i s to explain why c e r t a i n theories triumphed and perished, then he must (unless he takes the view that theory choice i s always i r r a t i o n a l ) be able to show that some theories - by the best a v a i l a b l e r a t i o n a l standards of the time - were superior to o t h e r s . " 6 6 However, i n spi t e of time and c u l t u r a l 'parameters' of r a t i o n a l i t y there are some general features f o r assessing r a t i o n a l i t y within a p a r t i c u l a r epoch, such as "that for a l l times and a l l cultures, provided those cultures have a t r a d i t i o n of c r i t i c a l discussion (without which no culture can lay claim to r a t i o n a l i t y ) , r a t i o n a l i t y consists i n accepting those research t r a d i t i o n s which are the most e f f e c t i v e problems s o l v e r s . " 6 7 However, at the same time Laudan recognizes that to "ignore the time - s p e c i f i c parameters of r a t i o n a l choice i s to put the h i s t o r i a n or philosopher i n the outrageous p o s i t i o n of i n d i c t i n g as i r r a t i o n a l some of the major achievements i n the h i s t o r y of fin ideas." He maintains that on h i s 'model' what i s s p e c i f i c a l l y r a t i o n a l i n the past i s p a r t l y a function of time and place and the context. The things which count as empirical problems, the sorts of objections that are recognized as conceptual " i b i d . , 129. 6 6 I b i d . , 130. 6 7 I b i d . 6 8 I b i d . 131. 32 problems, the c r i t e r i a of i n t e l l i g i b i l i t y , the standards for experimental control, the importance or weight assigned to problems, are a l l a function of the methodological-normative b e l i e f s of a p a r t i c u l a r community of thinkers. . . . A r i s t o t l e was not being i r r a t i o n a l when he claimed, i n the fourth century B.C., that the science of physics should be subordinate to, and legitimated by, metaphysics -even i f that same doctrine, at other times and places, might well be characterized as i r r a t i o n a l . Thomas Aquinas or Robert Grosseteste was not merely stupid or prejudiced when they espoused the b e l i e f that science must be compatible with r e l i g i o u s b e l i e f s . 6 9 Laudan r i g h t l y concludes that i n the twentieth century we believe i n the autonomy of s c i e n t i f i c b e l i e f s from extra-s o c i e t a l b e l i e f s , but he asserts that t h i s view i s of recent o r i g i n . However, he points out that the autonomy of science from other b e l i e f s "does not necessarily e n t a i l that i t was r a t i o n a l at other times and p l a c e s . " 7 0 Furthermore, he asserts that i n arguing that the c u l t u r a l exigencies and pressures exerted on science must be taken into account, I am neither abandoning the p o s s i b i l i t y of r a t i o n a l appraisal nor am I i n s i s t i n g that n o n s c i e n t i f i c factors are present i n every case of s c i e n t i f i c choice. I am simply suggesting that we need a broadened notion of r a t i o n a l i t y which w i l l show how the 'intrusion' of seemingly ' n o n - s c i e n t i f i c ' factors into s c i e n t i f i c decision making i s , or can be, an e n t i r e l y r a t i o n a l process. Far from viewing the introduction of philosophical, r e l i g i o u s and moral issues into science as the triumph of prejudice, s u p e r s t i t i o n and i r r a t i o n a l i t y , t h i s model claims that the presence of such elements may be e n t i r e l y r a t i o n a l : further, that the suppression of such elements may i t s e l f be i r r a t i o n a l and p r e j u d i c i a l . 7 1 Laudan goes on to write that "whether i t i s r a t i o n a l to use t h e o l o g i c a l , moral, or philosophical arguments for (or 69 70 71 Ibid Ibid Ibid 130- 131. 131- 132. 132. 33 against) a new s c i e n t i f i c theory or research t r a d i t i o n i s a contingent matter which depends on how r a t i o n a l and progressive are the research t r a d i t i o n s which provide such 7 2 arguments." * Thus, the r a t i o n a l i t y or i r r a t i o n a l i t y of any episode where 1 n o n s c i e n t i f i c , 1 but i n t e l l e c t u a l , factors play a r o l e must be assessed on a case-by-case basis, but the guiding p r i n c i p l e s here should be these: (1) i n the case of competing research t r a d i t i o n s , i f one of those t r a d i t i o n s i s compatible with the most progressive 'worldview' available, and the other i s not, then there are strong grounds for p r e f e r r i n g the former; (2) i f both t r a d i t i o n s can be legitimated with reference to the same worldview, the r a t i o n a l decision between them may be made on e n t i r e l y ' s c i e n t i f i c 'grounds; (3) i f neither t r a d i t i o n i s compatible with a progressive worldview, t h e i r proponents should a r t i c u l a t e a new, progressive worldview which does j u s t i f y them, or develop a new research t r a d i t i o n which can be made compatible with the most progressive extant worldview. 7 3 Doppelt, i s somewhat c r i t i c a l of Laudan's p o s i t i o n . He holds that Laudan's intention of providing a n o n r e l a t i v i s t account of s c i e n t i f i c progress, as i t now stands, does not succeed. Doppelt's main c r i t i c i s m of Laudan, i s that even i f we accept h i s philosophical arguments and s c i e n t i f i c i l l u s t r a t i o n s and agree that they "persuasively show 'that s c i e n t i f i c debate i s r a t i o n a l so long as i t involves a discussion of the empirical and conceptual problems which theories and research t r a d i t i o n s generate' ([1], p.124), Laudan f a i l s to establish, or even make pl a u s i b l e , the central claim upon which avoidance of r e l a t i v i s m depends." 7 4 7 2 I b i d . 7 3 I b i d . 7 4Doppelt, "Laudan's Pragmatic Alte r n a t i v e " , p.266.,and where [1] ref e r s to Laudan Progress and Its Problems. Thus, Doppelt contends that Laudan's argument retains a strong dimension of r e l a t i v i s m , even though he does think i t might have the p o t e n t i a l to be developed into an acceptable account of the progress of science. However, Doppelt points out that Laudan "has attempted to a r t i c u l a t e . . . a paradigm-neutral standard of s c i e n t i f i c r a t i o n a l i t y (problem-solving e f f e c t i v e n e s s 1 ) and demonstrates that i t i s operative i n the h i s t o r i c a l development of s c i e n c e . " 7 5 In Doppelt's view the p o s s i b i l i t y does e x i s t "that •problems solving e f f e c t i v e n e s s 1 , i f not a p l a u s i b l e non-r e l a t i v i s t c r i t e r i o n of s c i e n t i f i c r a t i o n a l i t y , may s t i l l provide a pl a u s i b l e c r i t e r i o n of s c i e n t i f i c t r u t h and p r o g r e s s . " 7 6 But Doppelt i n s i s t s that we require "some independent argument for the existence of external standards i n science, or a theory of r a t i o n a l debate which e n t a i l s t h e i r e x i s t e n c e " 7 7 which he finds lacking. Doppelt concludes that " i n order for there to be such r a t i o n a l l y compelling reasons, there would have to be paradigm-neutral external standards . . . nothing i n the a c t u a l i t y or p o s s i b i l i t y of r a t i o n a l debate concerning r i v a l paradigms and t h e i r r i v a l standards implies or suggest the existence of •compelling' reasons, external standards, or the denial of a f o r c e f u l Kuhnian r e l a t i v i s m . " 7 8 7 5Doppelt, "Reply to Siegel, 121. 7 6Doppelt, "Laudan's Pragmatic A l t e r n a t i v e , " 269. 7 7Doppelt, "Reply to Siegel, 121. 7 8 I b i d . Thus, Doppelt doubts Laudan's claim that standing above neutral, external c r i t e r i o n of problems-solving effectiveness which i s "both (1) i m p l i c i t ( i f not e x p l i c i t ) i n the main s c i e n t i f i c debates and choices responsible f o r paradigm cases of 'progressive' s h i f t s i n research t r a d i t i o n s , and/or (2) a c t u a l l y , o b j e c t i v e l y s a t i s f i e d by these 'progressive 7 9 s h i f t s . " However, Doppelt asserts that Laudan has not adequately i l l u s t r a t e d 'his own c r i t e r i o n ' or shown that i t i s at work i n p a r t i c u l a r cases. He contends that, " f o r a l l we know they may well have involved Kuhnian-type i r r e d u c i b l e normative s h i f t s i n the very c r i t e r i a of 'problem-solving effectiveness' and not Laudan-type 'progress' from le s s to more e f f e c t i v e t o o l s of problem s o l v i n g . " 8 0 And most importantly, i t i s d i f f i c u l t even to know how h i s c r i t e r i o n i s supposed to apply: How do (or did) s c i e n t i s t s from admittedly opposing research t r a d i t i o n s even imprecisely weight quantitative as against q u a l i t a t i v e considerations (e.g. the number as against the importance of solved problems), empirical as against conceptual problems, i n t e r n a l as against external conceptual problems, external methodological problems as against world-view problems, etc. i n supposedly a r r i v i n g at some f i n a l , shared, r a t i o n a l o v e r - a l l ranking of d i f f e r e n t research t r a d i t i o n s ? 8 1 For example, Doppelt maintains that, i n fact, Laudan's conception of 'world-views' i s r e l a t i v i s t i c . In the f i r s t place, Laudan's conception of world-views i s seen as the r a d i c a l h i s t o r i c a l transformations there i s some 79 80 81 Doppelt, "Laudan's Pragmatic Alte r n a t i v e " , 266. Ibid. Ibid. 36 • ambiguous1 because i t i s not c l e a r "under what condition a world-view (or e x t r a - s c i e n t i f i c system of b e l i e f s ) can provide the basis for allowing or disallowing extra-s c i e n t i f i c arguments for and against s c i e n t i f i c t h e o r i e s . " 8 2 For example, Doppelt maintains that on Laudan's view i t " i s a matter of (l)how well-entrenched the world-view i s , and ( 2 ) of how 'progressive' the world-view i s , now considered as i t s e l f a (nonscientific) t r a d i t i o n f o r problem-solving. The c r i t e r i o n of 'entrenchment i s i t s e l f ambiguous." 8 3 Furthermore, Doppelt raises the c r u c i a l question of "how can h i s t o r i c a l l y disparate physical theories (e.g. A r i s t o t l e and Newton) be r a t i o n a l l y compared i f each i s evaluated r e l a t i v e to the incompatible but equally well-entrenched world-views of t h e i r own respective s o c i e t i e s , or i n t e l l e c t u a l communities?" 8 4 Laudan maintains that "world views themselves are more or less 'progressive' and ' r a t i o n a l ' depending upon t h e i r own respective 'problem-solving c a p a c i t i e s . " Thus according to Doppelt, Laudan's contention "poses the awesome i f i n t r i g u i n g question of what i s involved i n representing (to c i t e Laudan's examples) 'the Greek myths' and 'Christian morality' as 'non-progressive' t r a d i t i o n s , and the modern 'autonomy of science* t r a d i t i o n as one which has ' generated a considerable degree of progress' 8 2 I b i d . 8 3 I b i d . 8 4 I b i d . 8 5 I b i d . ( [ ! ] / PP-131-132) . 1 1 8 6 This i s an important point because, the "Greek myths and C h r i s t i a n morality solved a whole host of t h e o r e t i c a l and p r a c t i c a l problems which do not even e x i s t . • • 8 7 f o r the s c i e n t i f i c world-view of modern s o c i e t y . " 0 ' And even more importantly, a problem arises "because these disparate world-views d i f f e r so r a d i c a l l y on what counts as an important or manageable problem and what counts as a proper solution, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to imagine what Laudan could possibly mean by asserting that one i s more progressive and r a t i o n a l i n terms of i t s 'problems-solving c a p a c i t i e s ' than 8 8 another." Here again Doppelt i s quick to point out that "the specter of r e l a t i v i s m looms l a r g e . " 8 9 For, example, does "Laudan propose that by i t s own standards C h r i s t i a n i t y solves l e s s of i t s important problems than i s the case with the s c i e n t i f i c world view?"' Thus, given the fa c t that "problem-solving effectiveness of s c i e n t i f i c theories depends i n part on that of world-views, the c l a r i t y and non-r e l a t i v i s t character of Laudan's theory comes into a 1 jeopardy." In h i s discussion of problem-solving effectiveness as a p o t e n t i a l l y acceptable external standard which might be responsible for cumulative s c i e n t i f i c progress, Doppelt points out that Kuhn "refuses to take such a c r i t e r i o n as 8 6 I b i d . , 266-267 where [1] ref e r s to Laudan, Progress  and I t s Problems. ° ;lbid., 267. 8 8 I b i d . 8 9 l b i d . 9 0 I b i d . 9 1 I b i d . 38 •the' c r i t e r i o n of s c i e n t i f i c knowledge and t r u t h . " 9 2 I t appears that Doppelt's reading of Kuhn allows for s c i e n t i f i c progress by v i r t u e of 'maximal problem-solving a b i l i t y ' , but at the same time Kuhn seems to be r e j e c t i n g the notion that maximal problem-solving a b i l i t y i s 'cumulative'. This i s because Kuhn argues that "every theory seeks to maximize i t s capacity to resolve i t s own problems - those i t takes to define the d i s c i p l i n e and to be e s p e c i a l l y revealing of the way the world i s . " Doppelt concludes that Kuhn finds no theory " w i l l i n g to evaluate i t s e l f and i t s r i v a l according to a c r i t e r i o n of problem-solving a b i l i t y which abstract from the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of the problems at i s s u e . " 9 4 In addition, d i f f e r e n t theories do not necessarily agree on a "shared way of individuating and counting problems, of ranking t h e i r r e l a t i v e importance, or even of judging the relevant measure of 'accuracy' i n s o l u t i o n s . " 9 5 And furthermore, because there i s no universal concept of problem-solving we can not conclude that maximal problem-solving a b i l i t y incorporates any cumulative p r i n c i p l e from one paradigm to another. In s p i t e of t h i s , on Doppelt's understanding of Kuhn's pos i t i o n , ' s c i e n t i f i c knowledge' would require some kind of •cumulative' progress as a consequence of a paradigm s h i f t . For example, Doppelt points out that Kuhn has a "firm i n t u i t i o n that the progress of science as knowledge of the 9 2Doppelt, "Kuhn's Epistemological Relativism," 133. 9 3 I b i d . 9 4 I b i d . 9 5 I b i d . 39 world presupposes some e s s e n t i a l l y 'cumulative' dimension at the l e v e l of i t s content." 9 6 Doppelt concludes that Kuhn seems to assume "some common world which can be known i n a caveat that "even i f i t can be shown that on some 'neutral' concept of 'more' one physical theory solves more of ' i t s ' problems than i t s h i s t o r i c a l predecessors solved of 'theirs', t h i s formulation already smacks of a r e l a t i v i s m concerning g o s c i e n t i f i c knowledge." F i n a l l y , Doppelt concludes that a s a t i s f a c t o r y account of s c i e n t i f i c knowledge w i l l require a 'cumulative assumption'. He states that i t might "be possible to elaborate a theory of s c i e n t i f i c knowledge that adheres to t h i s assumption while r e j e c t i n g i t s standard philosophical i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i n positivism and Kuhn" 9 9 but Doppelt o f f e r s l i t t l e i n showing how t h i s i s possible, other than to express the hope that i n the long-run there would a c t u a l l y occur some kind of cumulative progress, be i t with respect to problems, observational data or shared standards, or a l l of these. Kuhn believes that s c i e n t i f i c progress takes place, but denies the p o s i t i v i s t conception of s c i e n t i f i c progress as e s s e n t i a l l y a cumulative process, where successive s c i e n t i f i c theories make closer and closer approximations to the truth (or the way the world i s ) , when he states that •cumulatively' adequate way. II 97 However, Doppelt adds the 96 97 98 99 Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. 134. 40 s c i e n t i f i c theory i s usually f e l t to be better than i t s predecessors not only i n the sense that i t i s a better instrument for discovering and solving puzzles but also because i t i s some how a better representation of what nature i s r e a l l y l i k e . One often hears that successive theories grow ever cl o s e r to, or approximate more and more c l o s e l y to, the truth. Apparently generalizations l i k e that r e f e r not to the puzzle-solutions and the concrete predictions derived from a theory but rather to i t s ontology, to the match, that i s , between the e n t i t i e s with which the theory postulates nature and what i s • r e a l l y t h e r e . 1 0 0 Furthermore, Kuhn goes on to say that, Perhaps there i s some other way of salvaging the notion of 'truth' for a p p l i c a t i o n to whole theories, but t h i s one w i l l not do. There i s , I think, no theory-independent way to reconstruct phrases l i k e ' r e a l l y there'; the notion of a match between the ontology of a theory and i t s ' r e a l counterpart i n nature now seems i l l u s i v e i n p r i n c i p l e . Besides, as a h i s t o r i a n , I am impressed with the i m p l a u s i b i l i t y of the view. I do not doubt, fo r example, that Newton's mechanics improves on A r i s t o t l e ' s and that Einstein's improves on Newton's as instruments for puzzle-solving. But I can see i n t h e i r succession no coherent d i r e c t i o n of ontological development. 1 0 1 Before moving on i t w i l l be p r o f i t a b l e to summarize Kuhn's r e l a t i v i s m as rendered by Doppelt. He makes the d i s t i n c t i o n between Long-run Relativism Concerning S c i e n t i f i c Knowledge: - I t i s not the case that s c i e n t i f i c development as a whole can constitute a progress i n s c i e n t i f i c knowledge and truth. Short-run Relativism Concerning S c i e n t i f i c Knowledge: - I t i s not the case that every major stage of s c i e n t i f i c development (in which one t h e o r e t i c a l t r a d i t i o n i s supplanted by a r i v a l one) constitutes a progress i n s c i e n t i f i c knowledge and t r u t h . 1 0 0Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure Of S c i e n t i f i c  Revolutions, 2nd ed.(Chicago: The University Of Chicago Press.1970): 206. 1 0 1 I b i d . 41 Short-run Relativism Concerning S c i e n t i f i c R a t i o n a l i t y : - I t i s not the case within s c i e n t i f i c development that new theories are always or even c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y more r a t i o n a l to accept than t h e i r predecessors and come to be accepted by s c i e n t i s t s because they are more r a t i o n a l (better supported by evidence, more simple, e t c . ) ' At t h i s stage i n h i s discussion of Kuhn, Doppelt raises the guestion of what kind of a picture of s c i e n t i f i c r a t i o n a l i t y we have, i f we accept h i s argument fo r short-run r e l a t i v i s m concerning s c i e n t i f i c knowledge. In the f i r s t place he points out that p o s i t i v i s t accounts of science t y p i c a l l y assume that the "philosophical c r i t e r i a which ground progress i n s c i e n t i f i c knowledge i n the long-run roughly correspond to the actual c r i t e r i a underlying s c i e n t i f i c behavior and methodology at l e a s t so f a r as i t i s 103 • r a t i o n a l . " Furthermore, the " p o s i t i v i s t model of the standards by which s c i e n t i f i c knowledge i s evaluated i s also taken to provide an account of actual s c i e n t i f i c reasoning, debate, and t h e o r e t i c a l choice throughout the development of s c i e n c e . " 1 0 4 In addition, on a p o s i t i v i s t account of r a t i o n a l i t y " s c i e n t i s t s i n the past have transferred t h e i r allegiance to a new paradigm because i t better s a t i s f i e s the standard of increasing and cumulative empirical adequacy than i t s p r e d e c e s s o r . " 1 0 5 However, Doppelt maintains that, " i f t h i s p o s i t i v i s t standard i s not s a t i s f i e d i n a l l s c i e n t i f i c revolutions, then 102 103 104 105 Doppelt, "Kuhn's Epistemological Relativism," 135. Ibid., 136. Ibid. Ibid., 136-137. i t cannot capture the actual reasons at work i n these t r a n s i t i o n s or the sense i n which they are r a t i o n a l . " 1 0 6 Thus, he draws the conclusion that short-run r e l a t i v i s m concerning s c i e n t i f i c knowledge "implies a c l o s e l y related short-run r e l a t i v i s m concerning s c i e n t i f i c r a t i o n a l i t y ; r e l a t i v e to the p o s i t i v i s t c r i t e r i o n of increasing, cumulative empirical adequacy, i t i s not the case (a) that a l l new s c i e n t i f i c theories are more reasonable to accept than the theories they replace and (b) that they are i n fact accepted by s c i e n t i s t s on these ( p o s i t i v i s t ) grounds." 1 0 7 Doppelt characterizes positivism as a theory concerning the "reconstruction, comparison, and evaluation of f u l l y developed theories; the process through which such theories are developed i s either relegated to the psychology of discovery or assumed to be governed i n i t s r a t i o n a l aspects by the same c r i t e r i a which p o s i t i v i s t accounts employ to 108 analyze the f i n i s h e d products." According to Doppelt "Kuhn's theory of science challenges t h i s epistemological approach by t r e a t i n g s c i e n t i f i c development i n a way which i m p l i c i t l y drives a wedge between the epistemology of (completed) s c i e n t i f i c knowledge and that of i t s r a t i o n a l i n n development. One of the features of Kuhn's argument i s that i t i s "focused on the epistemological properties of s c i e n t i f i c debates, choices, and c o n f l i c t s i n the development 106 107 108 109 Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. • / 137. of these theories well before they can be compared as more or les s f u l l y developed a l t e r n a t i v e s . " 1 1 0 Basic to Kuhn's challenge to the p o s i t i v i s t conception of r a t i o n a l i t y i s that h i s "shift-of-standards t h e s i s denies that r i v a l paradigms share s u f f i c i e n t l y overlapping c r i t e r i a f o r evaluating evidence to permit e i t h e r to e s t a b l i s h or ex h i b i t r a t i o n a l s u p e r i o r i t y over the o t h e r . " 1 1 1 Now Doppelt c o r r e c t l y points out that a " p o s i t i v i s t account can c e r t a i n l y grant that i n the stages before the r i v a l s are more or less f u l l y developed, the available evidence i s t y p i c a l l y i n s u f f i c i e n t to indicate the r a t i o n a l s u p e r i o r i t y of one or 112 . the other." However, Kuhn o f f e r s a d i f f e r e n t conception of s c i e n t i f i c r a t i o n a l i t y where he attempts to "undercut the p o s i t i v i s t emphasis on ' i n s u f f i c i e n t evidence' as the central epistemological element i n these periods; instead h i s account i d e n t i f i e s t h i s element as incompatible p r i n c i p l e s ( i . e . c r i t e r i a , standards) for weighing the importance of d i f f e r e n t sorts of evidence (observational explicanda and 113 • • • problems) ." M J m J Thus i t i s maintained by t h i s view of r a t i o n a l i t y that there are " i r r e d u c i b l e normative disagreements concerning how the d i s c i p l i n e ought to be defined i n these periods; such disagreements underlie the sense i n which divergent choices are r a t i o n a l i n revolutionary periods and constitute an e s s e n t i a l 110 111 112 113 Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. 138. 44 epistemological component i n the r a t i o n a l i t y of the whole process through which these periods e n d . " 1 1 4 Those who support a p o s i t i v i s t account of r a t i o n a l i t y would maintain that " i f available evidence i s i n s u f f i c i e n t to ground r a t i o n a l choice i n the early stages of revolutionary debate, there must come a point where the evidence i s s u f f i c i e n t , and t h i s must be the point at which the bulk of the s c i e n t i f i c community transfers i t s allegiance to the new paradigm." 1 1 5 And i t i s further argued that "those who c l i n g to the old paradigm at t h i s point do so at a p r i c e to t h e i r s c i e n t i f i c r a t i o n a l i t y . " 1 1 6 Kuhn counters t h i s point of view by claiming that "most members of the s c i e n t i f i c community tra n s f e r t h e i r allegiance to a new paradigm well i n advance of the point where i t can explain more than the old • 1 1 7 • • • • paradigm." I t i s unvaryingly maintained that "even at the point where the new paradigm explains f a r more than the old, some s c i e n t i s t s maintain t h e i r allegiance to the old paradigm for reasons which are neither less s c i e n t i f i c nor credible, according to Kuhn's model, than those i n favor of the new • 1 1 8 • • paradigm." I t i s possible to maintain that these "choices are r a t i o n a l and develop i n a r a t i o n a l way on the assumption that they e s s e n t i a l l y involve d i f f e r e n t c r i t e r i a of science (or, p r i n c i p l e s of evidence) and an i r r e d u c i b l e element of 114 115 116 117 118 Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. • 1 1 9 •conversion' from one to another." ' In Kuhn's view, "good reasons i n favor of ei t h e r paradigm can only become 'compelling' i f i t s own c r i t e r i a are already a c c e p t e d . " 1 2 0 Although Doppelt contends that ' c r i t e r i a of evidence' are necessary for an explanation of s c i e n t i f i c development, t h i s i s not s u f f i c i e n t . In addition he points out that both the 'loss-of-data' thesis and the r e l a t i v i s m of s c i e n t i f i c knowledge are independent of t h i s conception of s c i e n t i f i c r a t i o n a l i t y . Moreover, i t i s claimed that even i f a "new paradigm at some l a t e stage i n i t s development succeeds i n explaining a l l of the genuine observational explicanda of i t s predecessors and more; l e t us assume that we count t h i s as progress i n s c i e n t i f i c knowledge, i n retrospect - using the cumulative c r i t e r i o n . Nevertheless p r a c t i c a l l y a l l the reasonable choices to r e s i s t or switch to t h i s new paradigm (those responsible for i t s development) w i l l have occurred before t h i s point and cannot have rested on t h i s cumulative c r i t e r i o n . " 1 2 1 One point which Doppelt stresses i s that even i f i t becomes possible i n retrospect to show that completed theories s a t i s f i e d the 'cumulative c r i t e r i o n ' we s t i l l could not claim that "past s c i e n t i f i c communities ac t u a l l y responsible f o r the development of these theories did employ or would have accepted t h i s c r i t e r i o n (even at the point 1 1 9 I b i d . 1 2 0 I b i d . , 139. 1 2 1 I b i d . where i t i s s a t i s f i e d ) . II 122 He maintains that the r e l a t i v i s m of r a t i o n a l i t y i s "quite a powerful p o s i t i o n even i f we r e j e c t the relevance or decisiveness of t h i s t h e s i s with • • 1 2 3 respect to s c i e n t i f i c knowledge." F i n a l l y Doppelt completes h i s argument by claiming that the p r i c e of devising "an objective and external c r i t e r i o n of r a t i o n a l i t y , as well as s c i e n t i f i c knowledge, quite independently of the s h i f t i n g standards i n t e r n a l to s c i e n t i f i c development i t s e l f " 1 2 4 i s too high. Such a price would be an i n a b i l i t y to explain the "actual reasons and r a t i o n a l p r i n c i p l e s operative i n s c i e n t i f i c l i f e " 1 2 5 at a p a r t i c u l a r time. In addition, he endorses a 1 s u b j e c t i v i s t conception of r a t i o n a l i t y ' that takes into account a community's "own ends, norms, and experiences i n ways which do not a f f e c t what i s true or what they know." 1 2 6 As he points out people do believe f a l s e things. Furthermore, he states that "within a c e r t a i n structure of norms and values, people may reasonably do things which from an objective and external standpoint, are wrong." 1 2 7 However, Doppelt i s c a r e f u l not to support a r e l a t i v i s t i c conception of knowledge, as he says that "we require an 'objective' 12 8 conception of knowledge (truth)." 122 123 12 4 125 12 6 127 128 Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. 140. In summary, according to Doppelt's reconstruction of Kuhn, " r i v a l paradigms are . . . incommensurable i n that they embody incompatible attitudes toward the fundamental problems any paradigm i n the f i e l d ought to (try to) s o l v e . " 1 2 9 And furthermore, i n as much as "paradigms disagree as to what the fundamental questions are, they disagree as to the proper standards of explanatory adequacy by which any paradigm i n the f i e l d must be assessed because each paradigm's standards w i l l be a function of the set of problems each paradigm recognizes as fundamental to the d i s c i p l i n e . " 1 3 0 Thus, d i f f e r e n t paradigms are incommensurable because they "set for themselves d i f f e r e n t and incompatible c r i t e r i a of explanatory adequacy. These incompatible standards are generated from each paradigm's tendency to disagree as to what counts as the fundamental problems any paradigm i n the f i e l d ought to s o l v e . " 1 3 1 Thus, for Doppelt, epistemological r e l a t i v i s m , " r e s u l t s from the incommensurability of standards of explanatory adequacy of r i v a l paradigms." 1 3 2 Harvey Siegel has taken issue with t h i s version of Kuhnian r e l a t i v i s m and Doppelt has attempted to defend h i s po s i t i o n against Siegel's c r i t i c i s m s . Siegel claims that "Doppelt's admission that coherent debate and comparison of r i v a l paradigms i s possible v i t i a t e s any strong 1 2 9 S i e g e l , "Latest Form," 109. 1 3 0 I b i d . 1 3 1 I b i d . , 107. 1 3 2 I b i d . , 109. 48 incommensurab i 1 i t y p o s i t i o n . " 133 Nevertheless, Doppelt maintains that meaningful debate and comparison between r i v a l paradigms i s "not s u f f i c i e n t . . . to allow t h e i r discourse to terminate i n r a t i o n a l consensus ( p . 4 1 ) . 1 , 1 3 4 The p r i n c i p l e point of contention i s whether or not paradigm-neutral standards are avai l a b l e to resolve disputes between r i v a l paradigms. Siegel argues that " d i f f e r e n t standards of adequacy are themselves, on Doppelt's account, open to meaningful comparison and r a t i o n a l evaluation . . . standards of adequacy are themselves open to debate, there i s no reason to assume that r a t i o n a l consensus i s 135 impossible. Siegel contends that i f r a t i o n a l debate about standards of t h e o r e t i c a l adequacy can take place across paradigms, t h i s would seem to imply that such "debate must, presumably, depend on the p o s s i b i l i t y of paradigm-neutral perspective: that i s , such debate depends on the existence of paradigm-neutral meta-standards by which paradigm-bound standards can be n e u t r a l l y e v a l u a t e d . 1 1 1 3 6 He argues that "while i n t e r n a l standards of adequacy may be operative within a paradigm, there must be external standards by which i n t e r n a l standards can themselves be neutrally j u d g e d . " 1 3 7 Doppelt appears to 1 3 3 I b i d . , 111. 1 3 4 I b i d . where (p.41) Epistemological Relativism. refe r s to Doppelt, "Kuhn's accept the existence of external standards, but argues that "they are determined by i n t e r n a l o n e s . " 1 3 8 On the other hand Doppelt maintains "that 1 r a t i o n a l debate between r i v a l paradigms only presupposes that each side recognizes the empirical success or the other's problem-solutions as successes, as a 'good reason* i n the l a t t e r ' s 13 9 • favor. For Doppelt, "such ' r a t i o n a l ' debate (involving the mutual exchange of good reasons) i s p e r f e c t l y compatible with the provocative Kuhnian r e l a t i v i s m which denies that such good reasons i n favor of a new paradigm can ever be r a t i o n a l l y 'compelling' to those s c i e n t i s t s who continue to adhere to the standards i n t e r n a l to the old paradigm." 1 4 0 Siegel disputes Doppelt*s " d i s t i n c t i o n between good and compelling reasons, and h i s claim that reasons f o r paradigm change can never be compelling . . . the standards of science are themselves open to meaningful comparison and coherent d e b a t e . " 1 4 1 Doppelt contends that Siegel extrapolates from h i s argument concerning the t h e o r e t i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y of paradigm-neutral standards to the conclusion that such standards must i n fact e x i s t . While not denying the conceptual and l o g i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y of such standards, Doppelt objects to Siegel's inference and maintains that the issue i s a contingent one. Thus, Doppelt asserts that 138 139 140 141 Ibid. Doppelt, "Reply to S i e g e l , " 120. Ibid. Siegel, "Latest Form," 113. 50 Siegel's repeated use of the language of p o s s i b i l i t i e s (what s c i e n t i s t s can or cannot do) misunderstands the epistemic status of the Kuhnian r e l a t i v i s t argument. I t i s an argument from the facts or evidence of actual s c i e n t i f i c debate and development, suitably interpreted. The question at issue i s not whether i t i s possible i n p r i n c i p l e for exponents of r i v a l paradigms to share 'external standards' by which t h e i r debates might be governed. I t i s rather the question of whether the h i s t o r i c a l evidence of even the most paradigmatically r a t i o n a l debates i n the development of science makes i t reasonable to believe that i n fact there are such ( e x p l i c i t or i m p l i c i t ) paradigm-neutral standards. Kuhn's powerful int e r p r e t a t i o n of science denies t h i s claim and I f i n d nothing i n Siegel's work which supports i t . Moreover Doppelt asserts that Siegel "mistakenly presumes that i f one admits that s c i e n t i s t s can bring reasons to bear on the i n t e r n a l standards themselves, there must be external meta-standards i n the s i t u a t i o n to prove the basis for these r e a s o n s . " 1 4 3 Doppelt concludes that i n "sum nothing i n the a c t u a l i t y or p o s s i b i l i t y of r a t i o n a l debate concerning r i v a l paradigms and t h e i r r i v a l standards implies or suggest the existence of Siegel's 'compelling' reasons, external standards, or the denial of a f o r c e f u l Kuhnian r e l a t i v i s m . " 1 4 4 In the f i n a l analysis Doppelt i n s i s t s that i f his i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s sound then the question as to whether or not s c i e n t i f i c development i s r e l a t i v i s t i c (and i t s epistemological implications) "cannot be resolved by purely philosophical argumentation but rather requires an 142 143 144 Doppelt, "Reply to Siegel Ibid., 121. Ibid. II 120. 51 examination of actual cases of s c i e n t i f i c revolution to t e s t Kuhn's own use of s c i e n t i f i c examples." 1 4 5 Doppelt, "Kuhn's Epistemological Relativism," 114. 52 I I I . The Chemical Revolution as  a Model of Paradigm S h i f t . In order to evaluate the extent to which Doppelt's de s c r i p t i o n of Kuhn's thesis applies to the actual replacement of one paradigm by another i t w i l l be useful to examine a concrete instance of one s c i e n t i f i c revolution i n some d e t a i l , p a r t i c u l a r l y with respect to those factors which Doppelt has acknowledged to be contingent features of such developments. During the l a t t e r part of the eighteenth century chemistry went through a d r a s t i c t r a n s i t i o n which Kuhn and some other h i s t o r i a n s of science have c a l l e d a s c i e n t i f i c revolution and t h i s example i s frequently c i t e d as t y p i c a l of paradigm s h i f t s . Thus, Kuhn has asserted that "what Lavoisier announced was . . . the oxygen theory of combustion. That theory was the keystone for a reformulation of chemistry so vast that i t i s usually c a l l e d the chemical r e v o l u t i o n . " 1 4 6 In Kuhn's own words, The much maligned phlogiston theory . . . gave order to a large number to physical and chemical phenomena. I t explained why bodies burned . . . and why metals had so many more properties i n common than did t h e i r ores. The metals were a l l compounded from d i f f e r e n t elementary earths combined with phlogiston, and the l a t t e r , common to a l l metals, produced common properties. In addition, the phlogiston theory accounted for a number of reactions i n which acids were formed by the combustion of substances l i k e carbon and s u l p h u r . 1 4 7 Furthermore, t r a d i t i o n a l chemistry's attentions 1 4 6Kuhn, Structure, 56, 1 4 7 I b i d . , 99-100. 53 had been directed toward the q u a l i t a t i v e . Explanations of q u a l i t a t i v e properties were sought; for example, m e t a l l i c shine was linked to the f i e r y q u a l i t i e s of phlogiston, and the earthy features of calxes were accounted for by t h e i r e a r t h l i k e composition, and so for t h . A l l t h i s went by the board when Lavoisier ushered i n the new chemical age of c h e m i s t r y . 1 4 8 The phlogiston theory dealt mainly with an e f f o r t to explain combustion. Nevertheless, combustion i s very d i f f i c u l t to study. Most things we commonly burn are made of many d i f f e r e n t substances and give o f f many d i f f e r e n t gasses when burned. Moreover, combustion generally i s rapid and v i o l e n t . Progress i n such studies required f i n d i n g some simple, well-controlled subjects f o r experimentation. . . .In the 1770's, chemists developed a number of techniques f o r performing such experiments. The leaders were Joseph P r i e s t l e y i n England and Antoine Lavoisier i n France. P r i e s t l e y supported the phlogiston theory; Lavoisier led the revolution that overthrew i t . 1 4 * In examining the events that took place during that time, we are p a r t i c u l a r l y interested i n seeing whether or not t h i s revolution i n chemistry, which led to the r e j e c t i o n of the phlogiston theory following the discovery of oxygen, has the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s that Kuhn and h i s d i s c i p l e s a t t r i b u t e to such revolutions (incommensurability, e s p e c i a l l y the loss of data, s h i f t of standards and the problems that a p a r t i c u l a r paradigm considers important i n view of these standards) and the extent to which these j u s t i f y the degree of r e l a t i v i s m which Doppelt i s prepared to accept on Kuhn's behalf. ""George Gale, Theory of Science: An Introduction To The History, Logic, And Philosophy Of Science (Toronto:McGraw-Hill Book Company 1979): 135. 1 4 9 R o n a l d N. Giere, Understanding S c i e n t i f i c Reasoning, Second Edition(Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1984): 115. 54 For example, i n showing how "changes i n standards governing permissible problems, concepts, and explanations can transform a s c i e n c e " 1 5 0 Kuhn wrote that Before the chemical revolution, one of the acknowledged tasks of chemistry was to account f o r the q u a l i t i e s of chemical substances and f o r the changes these q u a l i t i e s underwent during chemical reactions. With the aid of a small number of elementary ' p r i n c i p l e s ' -of which phlogiston was one-the chemist was to explain why some substances are a c i d i c , others metalline, combustible, and so f o r t h . Some success i n t h i s d i r e c t i o n had been achieved. We have already noted that phlogiston explained why the metals were so much a l i k e , and we could have developed a s i m i l a r argument fo r acids. Lavoisier's reform, however, ultimately did away with chemical ' p r i n c i p l e s , ' and thus ended by depriving chemistry of some actual and much pot e n t i a l explanatory power. To compensate for the loss, a change i n standards was required. During much of the nineteenth century f a i l u r e to explain the q u a l i t i e s of compounds was no indictment of a chemical t h e o r y . 1 5 1 Doppelt also endorses the view that the incommensurability of standards i s i l l u s t r a t e d by "the s h i f t • • 152 from pre-Daltonian to Daltonian chemistry." Thus, Doppelt states that, Kuhn considers the t r a n s i t i o n from the pre-Daltonian to the Daltonian paradigm of chemistry to be among our best examples of s c i e n t i f i c revolution ([1], p.133). His account of t h i s t r a n s i t i o n stresses the alleged f a c t that the pre-Daltonian chemistry of the phlogiston theory and the theory of e l e c t i v e a f f i n i t y achieved reasonable answers to a whole set of questions e f f e c t i v e l y abandoned by Dalton's new chemistry. The old chemistry was able to explain the observable q u a l i t i e s of chemical substances - e.g. why the metals were so much more a l i k e i n t h e i r observed metalline q u a l i t i e s than t h e i r ores, and uKuhn, Structure, 106. ^•Ibid., 107.. 2 S i e g e l , "Latest Form," 108. 55 also the q u a l i t a t i v e changes they undergo during chemical reactions, such as the formation of observed a c i d i c properties. For example i t explained the common properties of the metals as due to t h e i r possession of phlogiston, lacking i n t h e i r ores ([1], pp.99-100). In e f f e c t , the new •quantitative' chemistry of Lavoisier and Dalton abandoned any concern f o r theses questions and these observational data - whose treatment constituted the main achievement of the e a r l i e r model of chemistry. Thus, the new paradigm 'ended by depriving chemistry of some actual and much pot e n t i a l explanatory power' ([1], p.107) - Though i t brought i n i t s wake the capacity to t r e a t a whole range of data and problems (concerning weight r e l a t i o n s and proportions i n chemical reactions) only accorded minimal recognition before. Yet, as Kuhn sees the matter, what has occurred i n t h i s t r a n s i t i o n i s 'a change of standards'; because 'During much of the nineteenth century f a i l u r e to explain the q u a l i t i e s of compounds was no indictment of chemical theory' ([1], p.107) -even though t h i s capacity constituted one of the main c r i t e r i a of explanatory adequacy within pre-Daltonian chemistry. I t has been maintained that t h i s s h i f t from q u a l i t a t i v e to quantitative standards was the hallmark of the chemical revolution. In general i t i s claimed by Doppelt and others, that phlogiston chemistry, "from the very s t a r t , i s a q u a l i t a t i v e explanatory system." 1 5 4 I t can be argued that "Lavoisier even i n the beginning was somewhat antiparadigm insofar as he showed i n t e r e s t i n q u a n t i t i e s . " 1 5 5 In the study of chemistry he uses "his balance and balance sheet, and i n f a c t soon produces the very f i r s t chemical equation. Chemistry thus gains a quantitative power because of 1 5 3 . . . . "^Doppelt, "Kuhn's Epistemological Relativism," 122. 1 5 4 G a l e , Theory of Science, 135. 1 5 5 I b i d . 56 Lavoisier's new ideas. But h i s f i r s t move does not produce only p r o f i t s . Something was l o s t from chemistry as w e l l . " 1 5 6 In t h i s connection we are reminded that Kuhn had argued that one of the reasons for the incommensurability of r i v a l paradigms was a loss of data, and he had s p e c i f i c a l l y claimed that a consequence of the demise of phlogiston was that "Lavoisier's chemical theory i n h i b i t e d chemists from asking why the metals were so much a l i k e , a question that p h l o g i s t i c chemistry had both asked and answered. The t r a n s i t i o n to Lavoisier's paradigm had . . . meant a loss not only of a permissible question but of an achieved s o l u t i o n . " 1 5 7 The question then nat u r a l l y arises - does the new paradigm compensate for these alleged 'losses'? This raises another issue which must be addressed - whether or not the new chemistry represented a clear-cut improvement(i.e. progress) i n comparison with the phlogiston theory. Some s c i e n t i f i c h i s t o r i a n s argue that "we must always be ca r e f u l not to simply equate paradigm change with progressive increase i n explanatory s c o p e . " 1 5 8 On the other hand, i t i s maintained that paradigm change always involves some perceived improvement (otherwise, why change?), but there i s always some losses as well. When paradigms change, so do the implied questions, problems, and solutions which occupy s c i e n t i s t s . Usually involved i n the s i t u a t i o n i s some question, problem, or solut i o n whose loss represents a s a c r i f i c e , at lea s t i n the i n t e l l e c t u a l component of the science. But notwithstanding the 156 157 158 Ibid. Kuhn, Structure, 148. Gale, Theory of Science, 135. loss, 'science marches on' i n some important sense during paradigm change. I t i s no d i f f e r e n t i n t h i s present case, as we s h a l l see. Before evaluating these issues we must look at the phlogiston theory and see j u s t what led to i t s eventual overthrow. In order to f u l l y understand the phlogiston theory and the events leading up to i t s downfall, i t w i l l be useful to examine the state of chemistry during and j u s t p r i o r to the phlogiston period. The science of chemistry had been delayed i n i t s development or 'modernization' by two factors. In the f i r s t place the ancient view of chemistry was s t i l l prevalent i n the eighteenth century even though major break-throughs had already occurred during the seventeenth century i n physics, mechanics and astronomy. From the time of A r i s t o t l e scholars had believed that " a i r s , earths, f i r e s , and waters were the ultimate q u a l i t a t i v e categories into which substances were ar r a n g e d . " 1 6 0 During the eighteenth century many chemists s t i l l "regarded the vast multitude of d i f f e r e n t substances that we see i n the world around us as consisting of only . . . four elements." 1 6 1 For example, one could conjecture that a p a r t i c u l a r substance which "burned more vigorously than another was therefore supposed to contain a higher proportion of the element f i r e ; and one that was more f l u i d than another was s i m i l a r l y supposed to contain a higher proportion of the element 1 5 9 I b i d . 1 6 0 I b i d . , 119. 1 6 1 D o u g l a s McKie, "The B i r t h Of Modern Chemistry," i n The History Of Science; Origins And Results Of The S c i e n t i f i c Revolution: A Symposium(London: Cohen And West Ltd., 1951): 97. 58 water." The second factor which hindered the b i r t h of modern chemistry was the phlogiston theory i t s e l f . This was "a broad conceptual scheme into which could be f i t t e d most of the chemical phenomena of the mid-eighteenth c e n t u r y . " 1 6 3 I t was based on a theory of combustion which had been formulated i n the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by two German chemists, Becher and Stahl. In t h e i r view, a l l combustible and inflammable substances were assumed to contain a common p r i n c i p l e of inflammability which Stahl named phlogiston. When a combustible substance was burnt, phlogiston was thought to escape from i t i n the form of f i r e and flame. According to t h i s theory "when a match i s struck or a candle burns, some ' f i r e - s t u f f i s released from each of them - and so l i k e wise for other kinds of b u r n i n g . " 1 6 4 The phlogiston theory permitted the co-ordination of many previously i s o l a t e d f a c t s . For instance, phlogiston was the substance emitted during combustion and the c a l c i n a t i o n of metals, the 'food of f i r e ' or 'inflammable P r i n c i p l e ' ' . The complete, or almost complete, combustion of charcoal, sulphur, phosphorus, etc. demonstrated that these bodies were very r i c h i n phlogiston: while the formation of sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid, etc. from the solution of the fumes produced by combustion demonstrated that the substances themselves a c t u a l l y consisted of nothing but the acid joined to phlogiston ( i e . sulphur minus phlogiston —> sulphuric acid: therefore sulphuric acid + phlogiston = sulphur). When a metal was heated, the phlogiston 1 6 2 I b i d . 1 6 3James Bryant Conant (ed.), "The Overthrow Of The Phlogiston Theory; The Chemical Revolution of 1775-1789," i n Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s In Experimental Science, 1, ed. James Bryant Conant and Leonard K. Nash (Cambridge: Harvard University Press,1948): 70. 1 6 4McKie, "B i r t h of Modern Chemistry", 98. 59 given o f f l e f t a calx behind (therefore calx + phlogiston = metal). Conversely, by heating the calx with charcoal, phlogiston was exchanged and the metal restored. Many reactions became comprehensible when interpreted i n terms of an exchange of phlogiston, so that often where a modern chemist sees a gain or loss of oxygen, Stahl saw an inverse loss or gain of phlogiston. As we s h a l l see, t h i s view ultimately proved to be inadequate. I t i s useful to give a b r i e f summary of the types of events the phlogiston theory was designed to explain before giving a more in-depth analysis of the successes and f a i l u r e s of the phlogiston theory and the impact of Lavoisier's revolution. In the f i r s t place the common-sense view of combustion i s that something i s driven out of the burning object, leaving only ashes behind. By the eighteenth century, t h i s 'something' had a well-established name, PHLOGISTON-the f i r e s t u f f . Assuming that combustible material contains phlogiston explains most of the obvious facts about combustion. Heating drives o f f phlogiston into the a i r ; cooling makes i t less v o l a t i l e ; smothering holds i t i n . The w e l l - known fac t that a burning candle placed i n an enclosed container soon goes out was explained by saying that the enclosed a i r gets saturated by phlogiston so that the phlogiston remaining i n the wax has nowhere to go. 6 6 In the second place, phlogiston accounts not only for combustion but also f o r the very important process of smelting. This i s the process by which crude ores are turned into more refined metals. Generally t h i s i s done by c a r e f u l l y heating the ores, together with a measured amount of charcoal, to a controlled temperature. I t was claimed that the charcoal contains an excess of phlogiston which, at moderately high temperatures, leaves the charcoal and combines with the ore to form the metal. This hypothesis was substantiated by the fact that further heating at higher temperatures •L*>:>A. Rupert H a l l , The S c i e n t i f i c Revolution; 1500-1800.  The Formation of the S c i e n t i f i c Attitude (Toronto: Longmans Canada Ltd., 1962): 329. 1 6 6 G i e r e Understanding S c i e n t i f i c Reasoning, 114. returns the metal to i t s o r i g i n a l state. The phlogiston i s driven out of the metal by the higher temperature. Even rusting was explained as the r e s u l t of the phlogiston slowly escaping from the m e t a l . 1 6 7 In conclusion, these "claims may be taken as the 'laws' that define PHLOGISTON MODELS. Such models lay behind many hypotheses about systems undergoing combustion, rusting, or the process of smelting. The PHLOGISTON THEORY was the general hypothesis that t h i s sort of model f i t s most cases of 168 combustion, smelting, rusting, and so on." X B Let us now turn our attention to a more detailed examination of the phlogiston theory and the developments which l e d to i t s downfall. The chemists of the eighteenth century were p a r t i c u l a r l y interested i n determining the q u a l i t i e s of metals, and what happened to metals when they were heated. For example, when a metal, such as copper or lead, i s heated, i t turns into a powdery substance and i t s m e t a l l i c properties are l o s t . (The same thing happens i n the f a m i l i a r rusting of iron, but there without the ap p l i c a t i o n of heat.) The chemists of that time explained t h i s by saying that a metal was a kind of combustible and that, when heated, i t l o s t i t s 'phlogiston', leaving the powdery residue, which they c a l l e d a calx. Furthermore, they knew that " i f t h i s calx was heated afresh with charcoal, i t was converted back again into metal; and charcoal, since i t would burn away almost e n t i r e l y , was held to be very r i c h i n ' p h l o g i s t o n ' . " 1 7 0 Thus i t was concluded that what had happened was that the "heating of the calx with 1 6 7 I b i d . 1 6 8 I b i d . , 115. 1 6 9McKie, "B i r t h of Modern Chemistry", 98. 1 7 0 I b i d . 61 charcoal had therefore restored enough 'phlogiston' to the calx to reconstitute the o r i g i n a l m e t a l . " 1 7 1 In addition, i t was maintained that "a metal was a compound of i t s calx and •phlogiston 1; and the process of heating a metal to give i t s calx, c a l l e d c a l c i n a t i o n , was a decomposition, a kind of combustion i n which 'phlogiston escaped from the m e t a l . " 1 7 2 Chemists of the past had been p a r t i c u l a r l y interested i n the p r a c t i c a l aspects of chemical theory, such as metallurgy. For example, according to the phlogiston theory "a metal . . . i s more complex than i s the corresponding oxide. In p a r t i c u l a r i t accounted for one of the simplest chemical processes then employed for p r a c t i c a l ends, namely, the preparation of metals from t h e i r o r e s . " 1 7 3 I t was held at the time that the transformation of an earthy substance into a metal i n the smelting process appeared to be much the same whether the metal was iron, or t i n , or copper. What could be more pla u s i b l e than to assume that i n each instance the ore, when heated with charcoal, took up a 'metallizing p r i n c i p l e ' which conferred upon the earth the properties of a metal? I f one c a l l e d t h i s hypothetical substance phlogiston, an 'explanation' for metallurgy was at h a n d . 1 7 4 " M e t a l l i c Ore + Phlogiston > Metal » 1 7 5 (An Oxide) Plus from Charcoal The fact that charcoal would burn by i t s e l f when heated indicated to the founders of the phlogiston theory that the phlogiston escaped i n the process and became combined with the a i r . In general, substances 1 7 1 I b i d . 1 7 2 I b i d . , 98-99 1 7 3Conant, Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s , 70. 1 7 5 I b i d . 62 that burned i n a i r were said to be r i c h i n phlogiston; the fact that combustion soon ceased i n an enclosed space was taken as c l e a r cut evidence that a i r had the capacity to absorb only a d e f i n i t e amount of phlogiston. When a i r had become completely ph l o g i s t i c a t e d i t would no longer serve to support combustion of any material, nor would a metal heated i n i t y i e l d a calx; nor could p h l o g i s t i c a t e d a i r support l i f e , f or the r o l e of a i r i n r e s p i r a t i o n was to remove the phlogiston from the body. Everything f i t t e d together very well. 7 6 Today we understand that a i r i s p r i m a r i l y a mixture of two gases, oxygen and nitrogen. Combustion and r e s p i r a t i o n involve chemical reaction between carbon compounds and oxygen; the products of these reactions are water and carbon dioxide, except i n the case of charcoal, when carbon dioxide alone i s formed. When a metal i s heated i n a i r , i t forms an oxide by combining with the oxygen; the product was known to the chemist as a •calx 1 and the process as ' c a l c i n a t i o n 1 . 1 7 In addition, when many oxides of metals are heated with charcoal, the oxygen combines with the charcoal forming carbon dioxide ('fixed a i r ' to the chemists of the eighteenth century) and the metal. Mercury oxide, a red powder, also known as red p r e c i p i t a t e or mercurius calcinatus per se, has the unusual property of being converted into the metal mercury and oxygen when heated quite hot without c h a r c o a l . 1 According to the modern atomic formulations of these reactions with respect to the m e t a l l i c element mercury: " Calcination: 2Hg + 0 2 Heated 2HgO Mercury Plus Oxygen > Oxide of Metal Gas Yields Mercury (Red Powder) Decomposition of Oxide. 2HgO heated Oxide of very hot Mercury —> 2Hg Mercury metal Plus + 02 Oxygen Gas Yields 17 6 177 178 Ibid. Ibid., 68. Ibid., 68-69. 63 Reduction with addition of  Charcoal (also c a l l e d reduction  with phlogiston). 2HgO + C Heated 2Hg + C0 2 Oxide of Plus Charcoal —> Mercury carbon Mercury (Carbon) YieldsMetal dioxide or fixed a i r " 1 7 9 Let us look more c l o s e l y at the second of these experiments (decalcination of mercury) i n order to see just how the development of quantitative methods created d i f f i c u l t i e s for the explanation of c a l c i n a t i o n according to the phlogiston theory. When i n the 1770*s, u t i l i z i n g techniques f i r s t developed by P r i e s t l e y , Lavoisier performed a number of c a r e f u l experiments with mercury. In one of these experiments he floated a p r e c i s e l y measured amount of mercury on a l i q u i d and covered i t with a glass j a r , thus enclosing a known amount of a i r . . . The mercury was then heated using the rays of the sun focused by a powerful magnifying glass (a burning g l a s s ) . In such circumstance, as Lavoisier well knew, a red powder, or ash, forms on the surface of the mercury. Some of the mercury undergoes a c o n t r o l l e d burning. 8 0 (see figure., 1 on page 64) I f we apply the phlogiston model to t h i s experiment, one would expect two things. F i r s t , the r e s u l t i n g mercury plus red ash should weigh LESS than the o r i g i n a l sample of mercury alone. This i s because some phlogiston must be driven o f f , leaving the ash behind. And the volume of a i r inside the j a r should INCREASE since i t now contains the phlogiston that was driven out of the mercury. This means that the l e v e l of the l i q u i d i nside the j a r would drop to make room for the addi t i o n a l 1 a i r 1 . 1 8 1 9 I b i d . , 69. °Giere, Understanding S c i e n t i f i c Reasoning. 115-116. ^•Ibid., 116. F i g u r e 1 . P r i e s t l e y ' s m e t h o d f o r l i b e r a t i n g o x y g e n f r o m t h e r e d o x i d e o f m e r c u r y b y u s i n g a b u r n i n g l e n s t o d e c o m p o s e t h e c o m p o u n d a t h i g h t e m p e r a t u r e a n d c o l l e c t i n g t h e g a s r e l e a s e d o v e r l i q u i d 1 8 2 m e r c u r y a s d e p i c t e d b y C o n a n t . Conant, Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s . 65 In fact, the r e s u l t s of t h i s experiment proved to be exactly opposite to what would have been anticipated on the basis or thephlogiston model. At the completion of the experiment, the water l e v e l i n the container had gone up rather than down, and the mercury/ash residue weighed more than the mercury alone had weighed when the experiment had begun. Of course, with greater heat (the second reaction i n the above set of chemical equations) , t h i s outcome was reversed as the calx l o s t weight and the oxygen released from i t caused the f l u i d l e v e l to go down. Some of the other problems for the phlogiston theory were that "no one had ever seen phlogiston, or could mention a sing l e one of i t s properties save that i t departed on combustion I t was, therefore, a hypothetical substance devised for a single purpose. This, however, troubled no 183 one.""'' Another problem confronting i t was "that a i r i s required for combustion . . . and must have been generally known to anyone who could successfully b u i l d a f i r e . " 1 8 4 However, t h i s problem was a l l e v i a t e d by the claim that "the phlogiston did not simply go away i n combustion; i t united with the a i r or some portion of i t . I f there was no a i r present the f i r e went out because the phlogiston had nothing 18 5 with which to combine." • L B J J . F . Moore, A History of Chemistry (New York: McGraw-H i l l Book Company, Inc., 1931): 33. 1 8 4 I b i d . 1 8 5 I b i d . Nevertheless i t has been claimed that q u a l i t a t i v e l y , the "phlogiston theory was a s a t i s f a c t o r y framework to accommodate the chemical phenomena known i n the 1770's. Even some quantitative changes could be accounted f o r " 1 8 6 by phlogiston. For example, when a candle was burned i n a confined space of known volume, i t was observed that the candle would burn for a p a r t i c u l a r amount of time, and the candle's flame would get dimmer and dimmer. The candle went out when common a i r became 'saturated 1 or 'loaded' with phlogiston. Thus, the a i r was no longer able to absorb any more phlogiston and the candle went out. I t was also observed that the quantity of a i r was reduced. I t was maintained that the "diminution i n bulk of the a i r . . . i s a • • . 1 8 7 consequence of the p h l o g i s t i c a t i o n of the a i r . " A O # Nevertheless, one persistent anomaly of the phlogiston theory was that "when a metal was calcined, the weight of the residual calx or powder was greater than the o r i g i n a l weight of the metal taken. But how could the weight increase, since something material, namely 'phlogiston', had been l o s t from the substance of the m e t a l ? " 1 8 8 Once Lavoisier had shown that "phosphorus, sulphur and several metals increased i n weight on combustion or c a l c i n a t i o n how could chemists s t i l l accept the idea of phlogiston being given o f f ? " 1 8 9 1 8 6 x Conant, Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s , 72. 1 8 7 I b i d . 1 8 8McKie, " B i r t h of Modern Chemistry", 99. 1 8 9 M a u r i c e Crosland, "Chemistry and the Chemical Revolution," i n The Ferment of Knowledge: Studies i n the However, i n spi t e of what has already been said "such considerations as weight had not been considered v i t a l or even relevant by many e a r l i e r chemists, who had been more concerned with essences than physical a t t r i b u t e s , but Lavo i s i e r helped to create a new chemistry i n which number, i o n , weight and measurement were basic parameters. "•*•'" Thus, i t has been argued that t h i s "sometimes resulted i n a s i t u a t i o n i n which ' t r a d i t i o n a l ' chemists and the new 'physical' chemists argued past each other with no common frame of reference, a c l a s s i c case of 'incommensurability'." 1 9 1 D i f f e r e n t h i s t o r i a n s give d i f f e r e n t evaluations of the importance of the weight gain anomaly, i f we could l e g i t i m a t e l y c a l l i t an anomaly at a l l . But i f weight gain during c a l c i n a t i o n was the only problem facing the phlogiston theory i t might be pla u s i b l y argued that t h i s was not enough by i t s e l f to produce the chemical revolution. There i s a great deal of disagreement concerning the importance of the question of weight gain during the combustion of metals etc. Thus, we should be cautious not to assume that t h i s was the only factor involved i n f a c i l i t a t i n g the chemical revolution. Nevertheless, there i s l i t t l e doubt that the problem of weight gain helped spark the chemical revolution. However, i f the so l u t i o n to t h i s problem was a l l the new chemistry would Historiography of Eighteenth-century Science, ed. G. S. Rousseau and Roy Porter (New York: Cambridge University Press. 1980): 406 . i 9 0 I b i d . 1 9 1 I b i d . 68 accomplish, i t could be argued that there might not have been a revolution at a l l . As we have seen, one possible s o l u t i o n to the weight gain anomaly for those who supported the phlogiston theory was to maintain that "'phlogiston did not gravitate as other matter, but l e v i t a t e d - that i t n a t u r a l l y rose upwards to the heavens whereas other substances na t u r a l l y tended to f a l l to the earth - that i t had a negative weight , as we might 19? say." A * Thus, some attempted to argue that phlogiston, "unlike a l l other substances . . . i s not attracted to the center of the earth but i s repelled from i t . Hence the more phlogiston a substance contains the l i g h t e r i t i s ! " 1 9 3 Furthermore, we should take note that there i s , "nothing inherently absurd i n the idea of something not amenable to the a t t r a c t i o n of g r a v i t a t i o n , but that j u s t t h i s hypothetical substance should be the only one to show the property might have set some men t h i n k i n g . " 1 9 4 Let us see how these arguments evolved during the period i n question. Some have argued that at l e a s t i n the beginning, the phlogiston theory's treatment of weight gain or loss i n combustion did not present i t s supporters with a serious anomaly against i t . For example, one could explain "the increased weight of a calx i n a way that nowhere c o n f l i c t e d with the idea of phlogiston. U n t i l such a time as gases were co l l e c t e d , and the gain or loss of weight due to 192 193 194 McKie, "B i r t h of Modern Chemistry," 9 9 . Moore, A History of Chemistry. 3 4 . Ibid. 69 the p a r t i c i p a t i o n of a gaseous element i n a reaction could be c o r r e c t l y estimated by means of the balance, i t was impossible to achieve a balance of masses i n a chemical e q u a t i o n . " 1 9 5 This was at a time (before 1775) when chemical mathematics was such that "there was no palpable absurdity i n the conception of phlogiston as a material f l u i d . " 1 9 6 Thus one could argue that you could not expect that chemistry should be able to present you with a handful of phlogiston, separated from an inflammable body; you may j u s t as reasonably demand a handful of magnetism, gravity, or e l e c t r i c i t y . . . There are powers i n nature which cannot otherwise become the objects of sense, than by the e f f e c t s they produce; and of t h i s kind i s p h l o g i s t o n . 1 9 7 Eighteenth-century s c i e n t i s t s r e a d i l y admitted the "existence of weightless, impalpable f l u i d s such as e l e c t r i c i t y and c a l o r i c . " 1 9 8 Thus, i t could be maintained that the "purely l o g i c a l objection which has often been raised against the phlogiston theory i s therefore of small v a l u e . " 1 9 9 Nevertheless, one might wonder how t h i s contention could do away with the anomaly confronting the phlogiston theory i n view of the gain of weight which was observed during c a l c i n a t i o n . Even i f i t was true that there were weightless substances or substances that are not subject to forces such 1 9 5 H a l l , The S c i e n t i f i c Revolution. 329. i 9 ? I b i d -A " R i c h a r d Watson: Chemical Essays, I (London, 1782) : 167, as c i t e d i n A. Rupert H a l l , The S c i e n t i f i c Revolution: 329-330 1 9 8 H a l l , The S c i e n t i f i c Revolution, 330. 1 9 9 I b i d . 70 as gravity, t h i s might account for no loss of weight, but i t c e r t a i n l y doesn't seem to explain how there could be an actual gain i n weight during c a l c i n a t i o n unless a d d i t i o n a l ad hoc assumptions are made. Accounting for the weight gain i n terms of giving phlogiston a negative weight i s at l e a s t more consistent with the facts even though i t i s f a r fetched. In s p i t e of the various objections that might be raised against the handling of the weight gain anomaly, some have argued that Stahl's phlogiston theory d i d not "check the progress of chemistry as an empirical science; rather his views provided a useful p r o v i s i o n a l scheme for the explanation of many experiments." 2 0 0 I t i s asserted that "Lavoisier himself was at f i r s t f a r more keenly aware of the need to s c r u t i n i z e experimental data, than of any i m p l a u s i b i l i t y inherent i n the p h l o g i s t i c doctrine i t s e l f . " 2 0 1 Some of the merits of the phlogiston theory were enabled a consistent i n t e r p r e t a t i o n to be given to experiments on combustion, and many others involving oxidation and reduction. Chemists gained a valuable i n s i g h t into a number of reactions i n p h l o g i s t i c terms, and so learnt to tr e a t natural substances-sulphur, carbon, s a l t s , a l k a l i s , acids, metals, earths, and so forth-as the r e a l l y active p a r t i c i p a n t s i n t h e i r p r o c e s s e s . 2 0 2 An important prerequisite for the advances i n chemical theory which took place i n the l a t t e r part of the eighteenth that i t 200 201 202 Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. 331. century was the improved techniques f o r c o l l e c t i n g the gases evolved during chemical reactions and for quantifying t h e i r volume and weight. I t was the discovery of oxygen, and the recognition that ordinary a i r was a mixture of gases, that helped bring about the downfall of the phlogiston theory, and destroyed the concept of there being only four basic elements. I t should be kept i n mind that the "concept of the gaseous state, which i t i s so easy to take for granted today, was not achieved without considerable d i f f i c u l t y . " 2 0 3 Long before the chemical revolution began (1660-89) 2 0 4 Boyle had proposed that "material substances existed i n three states: s o l i d , l i q u i d and a i r . " 2 0 5 Furthermore, Boyle suggested that each of these states was "dependent upon the r e l a t i v e density of the underlying atoms." 2 0 6 However, Boyle's view was e s s e n t i a l l y ignored due to i t s reliance on quantitative properties, such as how many 'corpuscles 1 were packed into a given region of space. I t was only when quantitative c r i t e r i a became more acceptable that Boyle's ideas i n t h i s regard became incorporated into c h e m i s t r y . 2 0 7 Moreover, whereas " i t i s not d i f f i c u l t to a r r i v e at the concept of s o l i d or l i q u i d as a generalization from experience of several d i s t i n c t species of s o l i d s or l i q u i d s , the idea that there could be several d i s t i n c t species of gas 2 0 3 C r o s l a n d , "Chemistry and The Chemical Revolution," 398. 2 0 4 G a l e , Theory of Science. 120. 2 0 5 I b i d . 2 0 7 F o r . the various states of substances see Gale, 119.  07" * 'For a discussion of Boyle's theories i n regards to was one of the great achievements of natural philosophy of 9 n o chemistry i n the eighteenth century."*" 0 In f a c t the "understanding of gases was to be c r u c i a l to the chemical revolution of Lavoisier, both the understanding of the r e l a t i o n of gases to other forms of matter and the study of one p a r t i c u l a r gas which Lavoisier c a l l e d oxygen."* ' On the other hand, increasing knowledge concerning the properties of gases created problems f o r the phlogiston theory. More than 50 years before the chemical revolution Stephen Hales (refer to H a l l p.329) made s i g n i f i c a n t contributions to chemistry i n that he "examined 'airs* produced i n a v a r i e t y of chemical processes, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n order to discover the quantity evolved from a given weight of materials, but he drew no new q u a l i t a t i v e d i s t i n c t i o n between them. From hi s experiments he concluded that ' a i r ' was capable of being fixed i n substances as a s o l i d . " 2 1 0 Later the term 'fixed a i r 1 was applied to the gas which was evolved during the reduction of a calx i n the presence of charcoal. This gas would not support combustion and r e a d i l y dissolved i n water. I t was l a t e r i d e n t i f i e d as carbon dioxide. Joseph Black was the f i r s t chemist to attempt to i d e n t i f y 'fixed a i r ' '(1756, or see H a l l p.330)' and "at the same time discovering i t s function i n a number of 2 0 8 C r o s l a n d , "Chemistry and the Chemical Revolution," 398. 2 0 9 I b i d . , 399-400. 2 1 0 H a l l , The S c i e n t i f i c Revolution. 331. 73 2 11 reactions. i t i s maintained that Black's experiments had helped to show an important "linkage . . ., f o r many ' a i r s ' had been roughly i d e n t i f i e d i n the past (e.g. as inflammable, or extinguishing flame), but none had been c l e a r l y described as being d i s t i n c t i n species from common a i r , nor had any function been ascribed to them as p a r t i c i p a n t s i n chemical 2 12 processes. 1 1 Thus, i t i s asserted that the "most s t r i k i n g part of Black's work . . . was his proof that quicklime was lime deprived of 'fixed a i r ' : the quantitative r e l a t i o n was • 213 completely e s t a b l i s h e d . T h u s , Black argued that c e r t a i n chemical reactions involved the 'exchange' of 'fixed a i r ' . In addition, Black's "experiments could be explained without phlogiston, and he r e s i s t e d a l l attempts to argue that phlogiston was involved i n them." 2 1 4 Another source of trouble for the phlogiston theory was the discovery of the composition of water by Henry Cavendish i n 1783 2 1 5. In general i t had been easy for supporters of the phlogiston theory to explain how 'inflammable a i r ' could a r i s e from the action of a metal on a d i l u t e acid but not for Lavoisier. I t was Cavendish's experiments on the combustion of inflammable a i r which gave Lavoisier the v i t a l clue i n 1783. He was able to synthesize water from 'inflammable a i r ' (hydrogen) and ' v i t a l a i r ' (oxygen) and he could now explain the 2 1 1 I b i d . 2 1 2 I b i d . , 331-332. 2 1 3 I b i d . , 332. 2 1 4 I b i d . 215 * " C r o s l a n d , "Chemistry and the Chemical Revolution," 406. inflammable a i r evolved i n the action of d i l u t e acids on metals as coming from the w a t e r . 2 1 6 According to Lavoisier's 'broad working hypothesis,• The increase i n weight of metals on c a l c i n a t i o n was, however, a quantitative observation that presented great d i f f i c u l t i e s to those who thought i n terms of phlogiston. A f t e r the discovery of the compound nature of water [ 1 7 8 3 ] 2 1 7 , an explanation was contrived, but i t had only a short l i f e , f o r the phlogiston theory was then going to pieces r a p i d l y . 2 1 8 Thus, i t i s maintained that not u n t i l the discovery of the common gases-when hydrogen was taken to be pure phlogiston, nitrogen to be p h l o g i s t i c a t e d a i r , oxygen to be dephlogisticated a i r , etc., - did phlogiston become a serious impediment to the interpretations of experimental work; only then did i t s usefulness as a hypothesis become r e a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t . 2 1 9 In analyzing the importance of the phlogiston theory's r o l e i n promoting experimental research i t has been claimed that the phlogiston theory did not s i g n i f i c a n t l y retard the advance of chemistry, at l e a s t i n the f i r s t three-quarters of the eighteenth century. For example, i t has been maintained that phlogiston "was undoubtedly a useful concept u n t i l about 1765." 2 2 0 On the other hand, i t i s frequently argued that the phlogiston theory did help to delay the s c i e n t i f i c revolution that eventually provided the basis of modern chemistry. Nevertheless, i t i s worth taking note that during the 2 1 6 I b i d . , 406-407. 2 1 7 S e e Conant, Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s . 109, 2 1 8Conant, Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s . 72. 2 1 9 H a l l , The S c i e n t i f i c Revolution. 331. 2 2 0 I b i d . , 330. revolutionary phase, 1772-1789, 221 there were times when the phlogiston theory was not a serious impediment fo r the further development and progress of chemistry, as opposed to a l a t e r stage where the persistence of the phlogiston theory might be viewed as more of an obstacle to advancement. In addition, d i f f e r e n t h i s t o r i a n s give a d i f f e r e n t emphasis as to the seriousness of c e r t a i n developments fo r the conditional acceptance of the phlogiston theory. However, i n t h i s paper I am attempting to give a consistent view of the main issues, and at the same time do j u s t i c e to the d i v e r s i t y of opinion presented. One of the lessons to be learned from the phlogiston theory i s that "a theory i s not necessarily true because i t 2 2 2 can explain a great number of f a c t s . " Some have even argued that the phlogiston theory was " f a l s e to the verge of the ludicrous . . . yet coordinated most facts f a m i l i a r to the chemists of the day and enabled them to use t h e i r knowledge e f f i c i e n t l y for the solution of new problems. The phlogiston theory was, therefore, well f i t t e d f o r i t s p o s i t i o n as a great working hypothesis, and t h i s gave i t universal c r e d i t i n s p i t e of f a u l t s so g l a r i n g that i t i s now hard to see why they were not patent to every thoughtful o b s e r v e r . 1 , 2 2 3 Thus, i n appraising the r o l e of the phlogiston theory i t has been argued that what was of primary importance for 221 222 223 See Conant, Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s , 68. Moore, A History of Chemistry, 33. Ibid. three-quarters of the eighteenth century, was the development and design of f r u i t f u l experiments and the c o l l e c t i o n of data. The phlogiston and anti-phlogiston theories were c r u c i a l f o r explaining experimental r e s u l t s rather than a necessary component for gathering hard data. Thus, regardless of whether or not chemists accepted the phlogiston theory, they pursued t h e i r experimental investigations and continued to accumulate factual information which t h e i r theories were required to explain. Most s c i e n t i s t s would concede that a " s i t u a t i o n i n which the further progress of a branch of science i s d i r e c t l y dependent upon an adequate matching of t h e o r e t i c a l concepts and experimental facts i s by no means uncommon.1,224 In sp i t e of t h i s one can also maintain that even though "such a matching of f a c t and theory i s always useful i t i s f a r from being invariably e s s e n t i a l . " 2 2 5 Thus, i t has been concluded that the "empirical a t t i t u d e of the great experimenters was i n r e a l i t y f a r more important than t h e i r t heorization: i t i s therefore the less l i k e l y that any p l a u s i b l e modification of the doctrines p r e v a i l i n g through the f i r s t three-quarters of the eighteenth century would have had much influence on the course of e v e n t s " 2 2 6 . In time chemists came to r e a l i z e that Lavoisier's " i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the phenomena was f a r superior to that of phlogiston theory: i t was one upon which the ultimate 2 2 4 H a l l , The S c i e n t i f i c Revolution. 333. 2 2 5 I b i d . 2 2 6 I b i d . 77 advancement of chemical knowledge depended. II 227 However The revolution i n chemistry was not due s o l e l y to Lavoisier's ideas, and " i t i s also p e r f e c t l y c l e a r that the inventive empiricism of h i s contemporaries was j u s t as necessary for t h i s as h i s own l o g i c a l , i n t e r p r e t a t i v e i n t e l l e c t , and that, moreover, the rapid progress of chemistry i n the nineteenth century owed a great deal to developments, such as e l e c t r o -chemistry and the atomic theory, to both of which Lavoisier's own i n s i g h t into the nature of chemical reactions contributed n o t h i n g . " 2 2 8 I t i s argued that Lavoisier was more ingenious i n his i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of experiments than as an "author of new experiments." 2 2 9 His contribution was that he was one of the " f i r s t to r e a l i z e t h e i r f u l l s i g n i f i c a n c e . " 2 3 0 Thus, none of h i s "most famous experiments was new: the element of o r i g i n a l i t y i n them was l i m i t e d to Lavoisier's insistence upon paying heed to the teachings of the b a l a n c e . " 2 3 1 A review of the subsequent evolution of the debate between the adherents and opponents of the phlogiston theory can help us to understand how i t came to be replaced. "Lavoisier's new system of chemistry seems to have started with h i s pondering on the very large increase i n weight when phosphorus was burned i n a i r . " 2 3 2 He had "discovered that 227 228 229 230 231 232 Conant, Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s , 72. Ibid. Ibid., 333-334. Ibid., 334. Ibid. Ibid. 78 s u l f u r i n burning, f a r from lo s i n g weight, on the contrary, gains i t , i t i s the same with phosphorus; t h i s increase of weight arises from a quantity of a i r that i s fi x e d during combustion and combines with the v a p o u r s . 1 , 2 3 3 Furthermore, he believed that the r e s u l t s which he had established by his experiments, were decisive, and they led him "to think that what i s observed i n the combustion of s u l f u r and phosphorus may well take place i n the case of a l l substances that gain i n weight by combustion and c a l c i n a t i o n ; and . . . that the increase i n weight of m e t a l l i c calxes i s due to the same c a u s e . " 2 3 4 I t i s contended that we "seem to have here the f l a s h of genius that puts forward a bold working hypothesis on a grand scale without much evidence to support i t . Yet there i s no doubt, as Lavoisier always claimed, that the e s s e n t i a l idea i n t h i s theory was contained i n t h i s note; something was taken up from the atmosphere i n combustion and c a l c i n a t i o n . This was exactly opposite, be i t noted, to the phlogiston d o c t r i n e . " 2 3 5 L a v o i s i e r was convinced that science must "lay i t down as an incontestable axiom, that, i n a l l the operation of art and nature, nothing i s created; an equal quantity of matter exi s t s both before and a f t e r the experiment; the q u a l i t y and quantity of the elements remain p r e c i s e l y the same; and 2 3 3 I b i d . 2 3 4 A n t o i n e Lavoisier, i n a note to the Secretary of the French Academy, 1772 c i t e d by Conant, Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s . 73. 2 3 5Conant, Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s . 73. 79 nothing takes place beyond changes and modification i n the • 2 3 6 combination of these elements." For example, Lavoisier drew generalizations and made predictions on the basis or h i s experimental observations. He "discovered that a i r was ' f i x e d 1 i n phosphorus pentoxide and sulphur dioxide (made by burning phosphorus and sulphur), bringing about an increase i n weight. He predicted that the same would be found of a l l combustibles, and that the increased weight of m e t a l l i c calces was due to a s i m i l a r f i x a t i o n of a i r . This l a s t p r e d i c t i o n he confirmed (1772), by reducing lead oxide to lead with charcoal: a large quantity of a i r was involved." I t was Lavoisier's strongly held conviction that by the use of quantitative methods and by exploring the process of combustion and c a l c i n a t i o n he could explain these processes i n more precise terms without r e l y i n g on phlogiston as a necessary component of such an explanation. Thus, he "embarked upon 'an immense series of experiments' intended to reveal the properties of d i f f e r e n t ' a i r s ' involved i n chemical reactions, which seemed 'destined to bring about a revolution i n physics and c h e m i s t r y . ' " 2 3 8 In order to f u l l y understand the chemical revolution and Lavoisier's and P r i e s t l e y ' s contribution to the discovery of oxygen we must look at some of P r i e s t l e y ' s experiments with 'nitrous oxide'. In 1772 2 3 9 P r i e s t l e y had developed "a 'nitrous a i r t e s t ' for the p u r i t y of a i r . " 2 4 0 P r i e s t l e y had A. Lavoisier, 'Elements of Chemistry' trans. Robert Kerr (Edinburgh, 1790): 130 as c i t e d i n H a l l , S c i e n t i f i c  Revolution , 334. 2 3j7a H a l l , The S c i e n t i f i c Revolution. 334-345. 2 3 8 I b i d . , 335. 2 3 9Conant, Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s . 113. 2 4 0 I b i d . , 74. 80 "prepared an oxide of nitrogen . . . n i t r i c oxide (NO) . . . c a l l e d . . . nitrous a i r . " 2 4 1 P r i e s t l e y already "knew that t h i s c o l o r l e s s gas which i s insoluble i n water, when mixed with a i r produced a red gas ('red fumes') that was soluble i n wa t e r . " 2 4 2 In addition he also discovered that " a i r i n which a candle had been burned u n t i l the flame went out would not produce soluble red fumes with nitrous a i r ' . " 2 4 3 And the "reason f o r t h i s , we now know, i s that the reaction i s between the nitrous a i r ' and the oxygen: 2NO + 0 2 —> 2N02 'nitrous oxygen 'red fumes' that a i r , dissolve i n water » 2 4 4 The product of t h i s reaction f a i l s to appear when the oxygen had previously been completely removed from the sample to be tested. As a r e s u l t , " i t i s evident that when the two gases are mixed over the water there w i l l be a diminution i n volume." 2 4 5 P r i e s t l e y had discovered that he could use the 'nitrous a i r t e s t ' to determine the 'goodness of common a i r ' . P r i e s t l e y would blow a quantity of "nitrogen ' a i r s ' - t h i s time the odorless, c o l o r l e s s , water-insoluble one [ i e . NO]-into the sample of a i r he wished to c h e c k . " 2 4 6 Furthermore, he would measure both the quantity of nitrous a i r and the quantity of the o r i g i n a l sample to be tested f o r i t s 2 4 1 I b i d . 2 4 2 I b i d . 2 4 3 I b i d . 2 4 4 I b i d . 2 4 5 I b i d . , 74-75. 2 4 6 G a l e , Theory of Science. 246. 81 •goodness'. Thus, i f "the a i r i n the sample was 'good' (respirable, supportive of combustion, e t c . ) , then there would be an immediate reaction: A red gas would be formed, and t h i s gas would go into immediate solut i o n with the water i n the base of the c o l l e c t i o n j a r . " 2 4 7 In addition, he "then would measure the volume of the gas which remained a f t e r the red fumes had dissolved, and t h i s would provide a measure of the 'goodness' of the a i r i n v o l v e d . " 2 4 8 For example, i t was found that " i f only the two gases . . . [nitrous a i r and oxygen] . . . were at hand and the volumes were chosen c o r r e c t l y , there would be no residual gas 2 4 9 l e f t and the reaction would be complete." However, since " a i r i s only about o n e - f i f t h oxygen, there w i l l always be a large amount of residual gas when nitrous a i r ' and common a i r are mixed; . . . the nitrogen does not react and i s only very 2 50 s l i g h t l y soluble i n water." Furthermore, depending upon the amount of nitrous a i r used, and whether or not i t was mixed with common a i r or a i r containing more or less oxygen, i t was observed that likewise the residual volume of the gases varied, depending upon the 2 51 i n i t i a l volumes and p u r i t i e s of these gases. Thus, the 2 4 7 I b i d . 2 4 8 I b i d . 2 4 9Conant, Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s , 75. 2 5 0 I b i d . 2 5 1 In experiments where the gases released during chemical reactions were c o l l e c t e d over water, the measurement of t h e i r volumes was complicated by the capacity of water to dissolve various gases to d i f f e r e n t degrees. This d i f f i c u l t y was overcome by 1774 a f t e r P r i e s t l e y had introduced the technique of c o l l e c t i n g gases over mercury (refer to H a l l , 329) . 82 more N0 2 that was produced i n the reaction the more of t h i s gas dissolved i n water and as a r e s u l t we get a proportional reduction i n the volume of the gases l e f t over. In short, i t i s evident "that 'nitrous a i r ' and pure oxygen react, and when the reaction i s c a r r i e d out over water a large contraction i n volume o c c u r s . " 2 5 2 In addition, i f the "standard procedure f o r t e s t i n g good a i r i s followed, one volume of 'nitrous a i r ' w i l l be added to two volumes of oxygen." 2 5 3 What i s important here i s that under these conditions " a l l the 'nitrous a i r ' i s used up but a large amount of oxygen i s l e f t over. The actual diminution i n volume w i l l be deceptively s i m i l a r to that found when common a i r i s at hand, but the residual gas instead of being nitrogen i s oxygen." 2 5 4 However, there i s only "a small but s i g n i f i c a n t quantitative difference", 2 5 5 depending upon whether or not you are using common a i r or pure oxygen. When you use "common a i r the r e s u l t i n g gas- the r e s i d u a l - occupies only 1.8 volumes i f 2.0 volumes are i n i t i a l l y employed; with pure oxygen the f i n a l volume i s nearer 1.6 volumes." 2 5 6 However, when ei t h e r common a i r or oxygen i s mixed with nitrous a i r over water, what i s more s i g n i f i c a n t than the discrepancy i n the volumes of the residual gases i s the difference i n t h e i r properties. For example, when common a i r i s mixed with 'nitrous a i r ' , the 252 253 254 255 256 Conant, Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s , 75. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. 8 3 oxygen i s removed and the nitrogen i n the common a i r and some of the 'nitrous a i r ' i s l e f t . On the other hand when oxygen i s mixed with 'nitrous a i r ' the residual gas s t i l l c onsists e n t i r e l y of oxygen. Evidently, i n the two cases the resi d u a l gas l e f t over w i l l have very d i f f e r e n t properties. Thus, the residue i n the one instance w i l l support neither combustion nor animal l i f e , nor w i l l i t react further with 'nitrous a i r ' . In the other, the residue has a l l the properties of the o r i g i n a l sample. Any one of the simple t e s t s w i l l at once make t h i s s t r i k i n g difference apparent; a l i g h t e d candle, a l i v e mouse, or the addition of 'nitrous a i r ' w i l l convince anyone that the two samples of residual gas were t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t . 2 5 7 A f t e r c o l l e c t i n g a sample of the gas given o f f from heating red mercury calx, P r i e s t l e y tested t h i s gas to see i f i t was combustible. P r i e s t l e y was extremely surprised that the candle burned b r i g h t l y , f o r the "candle should not have burned. When the goodness experiment was run on normal a i r , i t completely exhausted the respirable p r i n c i p l e of the sample. Candles put into the remainder went out quickly, burning s p l i n t s immediately extinguished, and l i v i n g animals quickly went unconscious." 2 5 8 However, when P r i e s t l e y tested the gas he c o l l e c t e d from heating the red calx "the candle did not die: rather, i t l i v e d happily f o r a long period of time. . . . The a i r given o f f from the calx of mercury was better, of a higher degree 2 5 7 I b i d . , 76. "°Gale, Theory of Science, 247, 84 of 'goodness,1 than garden-variety a i r . " 2 5 9 Furthermore, when he "pumped i n h i s nitrogen a i r u n t i l the red fumes quit forming. . . . the calx-of-mercury a i r was able to absorb four to f i v e times as much nitrogen a i r as did ordinary a i r . Thus, the calx's a i r was four to f i v e times purer than ordinary a i r . " 2 6 0 However, both " P r i e s t l e y and Lavoisier overlooked the clue offered to them by the somewhat larger diminution i n volume of the new gas when subjected to P r i e s t l e y ' s t e s t for i t s 'goodness.'" 2 6 1 P r i e s t l e y , did not abandon the phlogiston theory, but endeavoured to explain these observations i n terms of phlogiston. Thus, he noted that combustion and r e s p i r a t i o n "cease when the a i r reaches i t s saturation l e v e l of phlogiston. This i s usually a f t e r about 20 percent of the available a i r has been used u p . " 2 6 2 Furthermore, he maintained that "ordinary a i r i s about 80 percent saturated with phlogiston i n i t s natural s t a t e . " 2 6 3 P r i e s t l e y s t i l l had to account for the gas produced when heating the red calx. He argued, that inasmuch as the gas produced when heating the red calx was four times as pure as ordinary a i r " t h i s could be interpreted as meaning that i t was a i r which was 100 percent unsaturated by p h l o g i s t o n . " 2 6 4 P r i e s t l e y , "then went conservative and stayed e n t i r e l y within 2 5 9 I b i d . 2 6 0 I b i d . 2 6 1Conant, Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s . 75-76. 2 6 2 G a l e Theory of Science. 247. 2 6 3 I b i d . , 248. 2 6 4 I b i d . 85 h i s paradigm; he made the observable facts consistent and coherent with the phlogiston conceptual system by h i s very naming of the substance; i t was 1 dephlogisticated a i r . * " 2 6 5 Thus, we can c r e d i t P r i e s t l e y with naming the new gas " i n a very coherent, phlogistonian manner; the a i r given o f f during smelting of mercury calx was to be c a l l e d 'completely 2 6 6 dephlogisticated a i r . ' " On the other hand, Lavoisier at t h i s time (1775) m i s i d e n t i f i e d t h i s gas as 'common a i r ' rather than oxygen. I t was P r i e s t l e y who was responsible for s e t t i n g Lavoisier s t r a i g h t on t h i s score by using h i s 'goodness t e s t ' for gases to show that the product was superior to ordinary a i r . But unlike P r i e s t l e y , once Lavoisier appreciated h i s mistake i n i d e n t i f y i n g t h i s gas with common a i r he corrected i t . L a v o i s i e r f i n a l l y came to the conclusion that " t h i s 'respirable a i r ' (the 'dephlogisticated a i r ' of Priestley) combining with metal formed a calx, and that the same a i r combining with charcoal gave Black's f i x e d a i r (carbon d i o x i d e ) . " 2 6 7 Thus, by "1778 the elements of h i s new theory of oxidation were quite firm, and i n i t phlogiston had no part f o r he had proved that the phlogiston-concept was the 2 £ 8 inverse of the t r u t h . " * ° Once he r e a l i z e d that he was dealing with a d i s c r e t e new entity, Lavoisier "took the s t u f f and made i t the central element i n h i s new theory. He named 265 266 267 268 H a l l , The S c i e n t i f i c Revolution. 336. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. 86 i t 'oxygen,' and worked up a wholly new conceptual system-c a l l e d 'oxygen theory' naturally - i n opposition to phlogiston t h e o r y . " 2 6 9 Nevertheless, P r i e s t l e y ' s stubbornness continued, and he would never accept the oxygen theory. I t can be argued that P r i e s t l e y was j u s t i f i e d for a time i n h i s p o s i t i o n concerning the phlogiston theory. However, at a l a t t e r stage i t can be argued that he was no longer j u s t i f i e d i n h i s stance as the weight of evidence was against him. I n i t i a l l y , neither P r i e s t l e y nor Lav o i s i e r r e a l i z e d the difference between common a i r and the gas produced when a mercury calx i s heated at high temperature because they f a i l e d to do the proper t e s t s . I t i s claimed that i t was only by accident that P r i e s t l e y came "to examine what was l e f t over when 'nitrous a i r ' had diminished h i s new a i r from red oxide of mercury!" 2 7 0 I t i s maintained that the "fact that both investigators took the wrong turn i n the road at a c r i t i c a l point i n a study of the f i r s t importance i l l u s t r a t e s how much more complicated i s the advance of science than ' c o l l e c t i n g the facts, c l a s s i f y i n g the facts, formulating laws, and elaborating from the laws adequate t h e o r i e s . ' " 2 7 1 Furthermore, i t i s claimed that one of the reasons that both P r i e s t l e y and Lavoisier f a i l e d to r e a l i z e the si g n i f i c a n c e of t h e i r experiments was that both men "made the same mistake . . . unconscious assumptions invalidated 2 6 9 G a l e , Theory of Science, 248. 2 7 0Conant, Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s , 76. 2 7 1 I b i d . 87 t h e i r chains of r e a s o n i n g . " 2 7 2 Thus, f o r a time Lavoisier f a i l e d to r e a l i z e that he was missing the meaning of h i s "experiments with the red p r e c i p i t a t e of mercury (oxide of m e r c u r y ) . " 2 7 3 He s t i l l i d e n t i f i e d the 'new gas' produced as common a i r , rather than oxygen. However, by 1776 he had "prepared an ' a i r ' from a sample of red oxide of mercury and found i t to be considerably 'better' than common a i r by the t e s t with 'nitrous a i r . ' " 2 7 4 Moreover, by "May 1777, Lavoisier read to the Academy a paper on the r e s p i r a t i o n of animals i n which he makes clea r that a i r i s a mixture of two gases, one 'highly respirable,• the other unable to support combustion or r e s p i r a t i o n . By 1778 there was no doubt i n anyone's mind that a new gas, not common a i r , was produced on heating red oxide of mercury." 2 7 5  Decomposition of Oxide. 2HgO heated 2Hg + 0 2 Oxide of very hot Mercury Plus Oxygen Mercury —> metal Gas Yields For Lavoisier, h i s "broad working hypothesis . . . was that 'something' was taken up from the a i r when a metal was c a l c i n e d . " 2 7 6 However, he f i r s t thought that " t h i s 'something' might be fixed a i r " , 2 7 7 but, he was not able to prove t h i s experimentally. I t i s argued that h i s working hypothesis was too broad to y i e l d any predictions that were 2 7 2 I b i d . 2 7 3 I b i d . 2 7 4 I b i d . , 77. 2 7 5 I b i d . 2 7 6 I b i d . , 87. 2 7 7 I b i d . 88 e a s i l y tested, but when he substituted "the words 'fixed a i r ' f o r 'something,' yielded deductions that were not confirmed by experimental t e s t . " 2 7 8 Due to some comments offered by P r i e s t l e y , he concluded that "he had a calx which on heating yielded a gas that behaved l i k e common a i r . " 2 7 9 Thus, sub s t i t u t i n g "common a i r for the 'something' i n his broad working hypothesis yielded a deduction that appeared to be c o n f i r m e d . " 2 8 0 However, we must keep i n mind that "deductions from broad working hypotheses are never d i r e c t l y . 281 confirmed or negated." In other words, a " s p e c i f i c experiment must always be related to the deductions by one or • • . 9 8 2 more l i m i t i n g working hypotheses."* * I t i s at t h i s point that Lavoisier encountered d i f f i c u l t i e s . He wanted to i d e n t i f y the 'something' released when the mercury calx was heated. For t h i s purpose i n 1775 he c a r r i e d out a series of s i x experiments i n order to determine the nature of the gas produced from heating mercury oxide alone and seeing how i t compared to the gas produced when mercury oxide was burned i n the presence of carbon. The s i x experiments he performed showed (1) that i t was not susceptible to combination with water upon shaking; (2) that i t did not p r e c i p i t a t e lime water;(3) that i t did not combine with fi x e d or v o l a t i l e a l k a l i s ; (4) that i t did not at a l l diminish t h e i r caustic q u a l i t i e s ; [these f i r s t four t e s t s were designed to show whether the gas was i n whole or part 'fixed a i r ' as Bayen had reported; obviously i t was 2 7 8 I b i d . 2 7 9 I b i d . 2 8 0 I b i d . 2 8 1 I b i d . 2 8 2 I b i d . 89 not;] (5) that i t could be used again for the ca l c i n a t i o n of metals;(6) that i s was diminished l i k e common a i r by an addition of a t h i r d of nitrous a i r ; f i n a l l y , that i t had none of the properties of fix e d a i r : f a r from causing animals to perish, i t seemed on the contrary more suited to support r e s p i r a t i o n ; not only were candles and burning objects not extinguished i n i t , but the flame increased i n a very remarkable manner and gave much more l i g h t than i n common a i r . 2 8 I t i s pointed out that with each of these t e s t s "a l i m i t i n g working hypothesis was i m p l i c i t , an ' i f . . . t h e n 1 type of reasoning was employed." 2 8 4 The f i r s t four experiments gave convincing evidence that the gas was not fixed a i r . Moreover, the " f i f t h and s i x t h t e s t s , together with the experiments with the candle and with animals, seemed to provide conclusive evidence that the gas was common a i r . " 2 8 5 By supposing that the gas was common a i r , Lavoisier "could say, ' i f I perform the following manipulations, then the re s u l t w i l l be such and s u c h ' . " 2 8 6 This type of statement " i s a l i m i t e d working hypothesis that i s confirmed or negated by t e s t . " 2 8 7 However, s c i e n t i s t s were faced with the "question whether another substance could also behave i n t h i s manner; of these t e s t s the nitrous a i r t e s t appeared to be the most s p e c i f i c and must have appealed to Lavoisier because i t was at lea s t roughly q u a n t i t a t i v e . " 2 8 8 Thus, by use of the nitrous a i r t e s t i t was shown that the gas released by 2 8 3 A n t o i n e Lavoisier, "Memoires de l'Academie des Sciences 1775, p.520, as revised i n 1778, c i t e d by, Conant, Harvard.Case H i s t o r i e s , 82-83. 2 8 4 Conant, Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s , 87. 2 8 5 I b i d . 2 8 6 I b i d . 2 8 7 I b i d . 2 8 8 I b i d . , 88. 90 heating a calx was not common a i r by seeing how great a diminution took place when the a i r was mixed with nitrous gas. By 1776 P r i e s t l e y and Lavoisier "would both agree that a new a i r was present when the calx of mercury was h e a t e d . " 2 8 9 But i n spi t e of t h i s agreement they would disagree as to what broad working hypothesis one should accept. On one hand, " P r i e s t l e y stuck to the conceptual scheme i n which • . . 2 9 0 phlogiston was the determining factor i n calx formation." On the other hand, "Lavoisier saw h i s broad working hypothesis now made more s p e c i f i c by su b s t i t u t i n g the words •a constituent of the atmosphere which supports combustion' 2 91 • f o r h i s 'something.'" And Lavoisier's "working hypothesis on a grand scale was about to a t t a i n the status of a new conceptual scheme." 2 9 2 We should take time to point out that P r i e s t l e y had a strong allegiance to the phlogiston theory even when i t was i n c o n f l i c t with h i s own experimental r e s u l t s . For example, we have seen that P r i e s t l e y c a l l e d the gas he had discovered dephlogisticated a i r , h i s idea being that t h i s was the component of the atmosphere with which the phlogiston united when i t emerged from a burning substance. He c a l l e d nitrogen 'phlogisticated a i r , ' and t h i s nomenclature would seem to imply that he considered i t a product of such union. I f so nitrogen should sometimes appear as a product of combustion, but t h i s contradiction was overlooked, 289 290 291 292 Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. l i k e every f a c t which t o l d against the phlogiston t h e o r y . 2 9 T Furthermore, " P r i e s t l e y missed e n t i r e l y the r e a l t h i s contemporaries were so sure that something was always given o f f i n combustion that they had l o s t the power to believe that the burning body united with one of the gases of the atmosphere even when they saw the l a t t e r disappear before t h e i r eyes. Such blindness was r e a l l y less pardonable i n P r i e s t l e y than i n the others, for he not only could not draw the correct conclusion from h i s own experiments, but a l l the work of Lavoisier a l i t t l e l a t e r f a i l e d u t t e r l y to convince him, and he defended the theory of phlogiston to the l a s t . 2 9 5 There are a few things to take note of i n the way that the experiments of Lavoisier and P r i e s t l e y helped to " i l l u s t r a t e a "number of general p r i n c i p l e s i n the 2 9 6 development of science." For example, some of "the d i f f i c u l t i e s of chemical experimentation are exposed very c l e a r l y ; the d i f f i c u l t i e s are sometimes those of in t e r p r e t a t i o n of what i s observed, sometimes the f a i l u r e to t r y what now seems an obvious further experiment, often the f a i l u r e to have homogeneous materials at hand." 2 9 7 In addition, "the r o l e of accidental discovery i s almost 2 98 g l o r i f i e d by P r i e s t l e y . " " 0 Furthermore, s i g n i f i c a n c e of h i s discovery." 294 P r i e s t l e y and several of 293 294 295 296 297 298 Moore, A History of Chemistry, 49. Ibid., 49-50. I l b i d . , 50. Conant, Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s . 104. Ibid. Ibid. 9 2 repeated use of the li m i t e d working hypothesis i s evident. For example, every time a chemical t e s t i s applied, P r i e s t l e y or Lavoisier i s e s s e n t i a l l y saying, 'If I do so and so, such and such w i l l happen.• P r i e s t l e y ' s o r i g i n a l f a u l t y i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of oxygen as laughing gas and h i s f a i l u r e to inter p r e t the 'nitrous a i r t e s t 1 c o r r e c t l y shows how many hidden assumptions are involved i n the int e r p r e t a t i o n of experimental r e s u l t s . " Another, important lesson to be learned i s that " P r i e s t l e y ' s b l i n d adherence to the phlogiston theory i n sp i t e of h i s own e f f e c t i v e discovery of oxygen and i n spite of i t s obvious f a u l t s (such as the f a i l u r e to account f o r the increase i n weight on calcination) shows the hold that one conceptual scheme may have on the mind of an i n v e s t i g a t o r . " 3 0 0 And f i n a l l y , by 1778 we see i n the story of the overthrow of the Phlogiston theory "the transformation of a broad working hypothesis into a new conceptual scheme 3 01 . . . of revolutionary importance." We should not lose sight of the conditions that helped to p r e c i p i t a t e a chemical revolution such as: "(a) the improvement i n communications among s c i e n t i f i c men, which made science more and more of a cooperative e f f o r t ; (b) the accumulation of quantitative studies i n physics that made unsatisfactory the concept of phlogiston, which implied a substance with a negative weight; (c) the accumulation of a century's work on the materials, apparatus, and techniques of c h e m i s t r y . " 3 0 2 299 300 301 302 Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. 104-105. 93 Thus, i n summing up, the "discovery of oxygen . . . was the central event i n the overthrow of the phlogiston theory. But i t must be remembered that i t was the discovery that oxygen was a constituent of the atmosphere which provided the key to the r i d d l e of combustion. 1 , 3 0 3 As i t turned out, the "method of preparing the red oxide of mercury was an e s s e n t i a l l i n k i n Lavoisier's argument . . . the red powder was a true calx; i t was formed when mercury was heated i n a i r . In t h i s process the gain i n weight was due to combination of either a i r or a constituent of a i r with the mercury." 3 0 4 By 1783, Lavoisier f o r c e f u l l y directed h i s attack against the phlogiston theory and "marshaled the evidence for the new ideas and showed that the concept of phlogiston was not only unnecessary but s e l f - c o n t r a d i c t o r y . " 3 0 5 Thus, we are heading toward the " f i n a l collapse of the phlogiston t h e o r y . " 3 0 6 The cumulative e f f e c t of these researches lead to the sudden conversion of most French chemists at about 1785, and the new ideas were firm l y fixed by the p u b l i c a t i o n of Lavoisier's great textbook 'La T r a i t e Elementaire De La Chimie' i n 1789. The change was well c a l l e d the Chemical Revolution, f o r i t inverted completely the chemical point of view. The mysterious hypothetical substance, phlogiston, which did not obey the law of g r a v i t a t i o n , and changed i t s properties a r b i t r a r i l y as t h e o r e t i c a l considerations dictated, was banished from the science and the law of conservation of mass vindicated once for a l l . 3 0 ' 3 0 3 i b i d . , 105, 3 0 4 I b i d . 3 0 5 I b i d . , 109. 3 0 6 I b i d . 307 . Moore, A History of Chemistry. 56, 94 As we have seen another important contribution to chemistry at t h i s time ('1783', see Conant, 113) was that "the composition of water was established by experiments of Henry Cavendish . . . which were immediately repeated by L a v o i s i e r . " 3 0 8 Subsequently, with the discovery that water was formed when hydrogen was burned i n a i r , Lavoisier's scheme was complete. Water was c l e a r l y the oxide of hydrogen. Lavoisier at once proceeded to t e s t an obvious deduction from t h i s extension of h i s conceptual scheme, namely, that steam heated with a metal should y i e l d a calx and hydrogen. I t did. (The converse was likewise demonstrated at about the same time.) Hydrogen + Oxygen > Water Steam heated with metal > Calx + Hydrogen (oxide) 3 0 9 A f t e r the r e l a t i o n s h i p between water, hydrogen, oxygen, metals and oxides' was established, i t "would seem to leave no ground for the supporters of the phlogiston theory to stand on." However, t h i s i s not what immediately happened, but rather, " f o r a few years the new knowledge had the contrary e f f e c t . " 3 1 1 Those who believed " i n the phlogiston were at l e a s t able to explain why a calx weighed more than the m e t a l . " 3 1 2 This was accomplished by a modification of the phlogiston theory as i l l u s t r a t e d by the following table. 3 0 8Conant, Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s , 109, 3 0»ibid. 3 1 1 I b i d . 3 1 2 I b i d . 95 Modified Phlogiston Theory (about 1785) Hydrogen = phlogiston (often carrying water); Oxygen = dephlogisticated a i r ; Water = dephlogisticated a i r + phlogiston; Nitrogen = completely p h l o g i s t i c a t e d a i r ' Common a i r = p a r t i a l l y p h l o g i s t i c a t e d a i r carrying water; Metal = calx + phlogiston - water; Calx = base of a pure earth + water; Charcoal = phlogiston + ash + w a t e r . 3 1 3 Once again we see that the "story of the l a s t days of phlogiston theory i s of int e r e s t , . . . i n i l l u s t r a t i n g a recurring pattern i n the h i s t o r y of s c i e n c e . " 3 1 4 This recurrent pattern i s that i t i s "often possible by adding a number of new s p e c i a l a u x i l i a r y postulates to a conceptual scheme to save the theory - at l e a s t t e m p o r a r i l y . " 3 1 5 However, such a modified theory of conceptual scheme does not always have a 'long 1 or ' f r u i t f u l ' l i f e , but, "sometimes, as i n the case of the phlogiston theory a f t e r 1785, so many new assumptions have to be added year a f t e r year that the structure collapses." •*• Furthermore, i t needs to be pointed out that most of the " i l l u s t r a t i o n s of t h i s pattern, concern concepts and conceptual schemes of f a r less breadth 317 than the phlogiston doctrine." 3 1 3 I b i d . , 109-110. 3 1 4 I b i d . , 111. 3 1 5 I b i d . 3 1 6 I b i d . 3 1 7 I b i d . In t h i s connection, i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note that La v o i s i e r also did considerable work i n providing an explanation of the nature of acids. He "spoke of acids as containing 'air'and he l a t e r coined the term oxygen from two Greek words meaning 'acid-producer' because he was convinced that oxygen was the p r i n c i p l e of a c i d i t y . Furthermore, i n s p i t e of Lavoisier's error that a l l acids are oxygen based (in f a c t some acids contain no oxygen), h i s theory concerning acids had superior explanatory power" 3 1 8, over the phlogiston theory. Thus, the "oxygen theory of a c i d i t y i s sometimes treated as an embarrassing mistake, but i t i s probably more useful to consider i t as a v a l i d theory of l i m i t e d a p p l i c a b i l i t y ; i t c e r t a i n l y did have some p r e d i c t i v e value. In so f a r as he was describing oxy-acids L a v o i s i e r had an 3 l O adequate theory." However, when others corrected Lavoisier's mistake by introducing "the c l a s s of hydracids . . . t h i s was presented not as a revolution but rather as a small adjustment within Lavoisier's new system". 3 2 0 I t i s important that we do not lose sight of the fact that "the oxygen theory, whether of combustion, c a l o r i c , a c i d i t y or the more general concept of oxidation, has diverted attention from another equally important achievement of Lavoisier, that of r e i n t e r p r e t i n g chemical c o m p o s i t i o n . 1 , 3 2 1 For example, "Joseph Black was able to 318 Crosland, 11 Chemistry and the Chemical Revolution, 11 408. 319 320 321 Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. 415. 408-409. 97 discuss the chemical revolution without mentioning the overthrow of the phlogiston theory, r e f e r r i n g instead to •discoveries. . . r e l a t i n g to the constituent parts or 322 p r i n c i p l e of natural substances.'." A metal calx (metal oxide) was no longer thought of as a simple substance but as a compound. " Metal > Calx + Phlogiston (calx + Phlogiston) " 3 2 3 was replaced by "Metal + Oxygen Mental Oxide + c a l o r i c (Oxygen P r i n c i p l e > (Metal + Oxygen + c a l o r i c ) P r i n c i p l e ) " In fairness to the h i s t o r i c a l record, and as the previously c i t e d chemical equations reveal, i n s p i t e of Lavoisier's antiphlogiston p o s i t i o n he was not able to do away with the notion of phlogiston e n t i r e l y and reintroduces a somewhat phlogiston-like idea which he c a l l e d ' c a l o r i c * . Although, Lavoisier's concept of c a l o r i c was more l i m i t e d i n scope than that of phlogiston, nevertheless, Lavoisier was reluctant to t o t a l l y surrender the notion of phlogiston. One of the reasons for t h i s may have been that at t h i s time heat was not very well understood, and f i r e often was s t i l l thought of as being l i k e a l i q u i d substance or as some kind of ' p r i n c i p l e ' . Thus, Lavoisier used c a l o r i c to r e t a i n the notion that something was given up during combustion. 3 2 2 I b i d . , 409. 3 2 3 I b i d . 3 2 4 I b i d . 98 One of Lavoisier's greatest accomplishments was the part he played i n helping to d i s t i n g u i s h and to i d e n t i f y elements from compounds, which more often than not, the phlogiston theory had gotten wrong. Long before Lavoisier's time Boyle had advanced the postulate that the atom was an e n t i t y that could not be further reduced or decomposed into simpler parts by chemical means. Although t h i s idea did not lead at the time to the concept of a chemical element, i t d i d imply an idea of chemical analysis as consisting of the decomposition or d i s s o c i a t i o n of a compound substance into i t s simpler parts. Before Lavoisier's contributions the concept of chemical composition was often confused. I f a metal was to be considered as a compound of i t s calx with phlogiston, yet i f the compound weighed less than the sum of i t s component parts, then the meaning of words such as element and compound were ambiguous. In 1787 Lavoisier was responsible fo r helping to introduce a new or al t e r e d nomenclature. Following Boyle's lead, he i d e n t i f i e d elements as those substances that cannot be further decomposed 3 2 5, at le a s t not by ordinary chemical means. Thus i n h i s 1790 table of elements he included "the elementary gases, oxygen, hydrogen 3 2 6 and nitrogen along with heat and l i g h t . " L avoisier's substitution of oxygen for phlogiston made possible a revised d i s t i n c t i o n between what was to be 3 2 5 S e e Moore, A History of Chemistry. 58. 3 2 6 I b i d . 99 considered as simple or complex, which substances were to be c l a s s i f i e d as elements and which belonged to the category of compounds. At issue was whether or not the process of combustion was a c t u a l l y a decomposition where phlogiston was thought to be given o f f , rather than an i n t e r a c t i o n i n which one substance united with another to y i e l d a more complex combination of the two. In short when Lav o i s i e r substituted reduction for p h l o g i s t i c a t i o n and oxidation for dephlogistication i t was only natural that the newly discovered element oxygen should usurp the p o s i t i o n of exaggerated importance from which phlogiston had j u s t been displaced. This i s exactly what happened. Every element found i t s p o s i t i o n i n the system of Lavoisier according to i t s r e l a t i o n toward oxygen. Metals had hitherto been compounds of bases with phlogiston. They now became the elements which united with oxygen to form b a s e s . 3 2 7 Lavoisier established the p r i n c i p l e s of quantitative analysis and introduced the idea of wr i t i n g chemical e q u a t i o n s . 3 2 8 He maintained that s c i e n t i f i c methodology should endeavor to break down substances into t h e i r constituent parts and also be able to make the substance from i t s parts. He advised that " i n general i t ought to be considered as a p r i n c i p l e i n chemical science, never to be s a t i s f i e d without both these species of p r o o f s . " 3 2 9 For example, he claimed that we "have t h i s advantage i n the analysis of atmospheric a i r ; being able both to decompose i t , and to form i t anew i n the most s a t i s f a c t o r y manner." 3 3 0 By 327 328 329 330 Ibid., 63. Ibid., 56. Conant, Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s , 106. Ibid. 1785 Lav o i s i e r had shown that the gas remaining from a i r a f t e r i t s a b i l i t y to support the c a l c i n a t i o n of mercury had been exhausted "was no longer f i t either f o r r e s p i r a t i o n or combustion . . . t h i s gas was commonly c a l l e d 'mephitic a i r ' . Lav o i s i e r named i t azote. In English the name nitrogen was i n t r o d u c e d . " 3 3 1 Lavoisier concluded "that atmospheric a i r i s composed of two e l a s t i c f l u i d s (gases) of d i f f e r e n t and opposite properties . . . i f we recombine these f l u i d s . . . we reproduce an a i r p r e c i s e l y s i m i l a r to that of the atmosphere." We should observe the caveat that the " d i s t i n c t i o n between a mixture and a chemical compound was 333 not yet quite c l e a r . " However, only by the "assiduous use of the 'p r i n c i p l e of the balance sheet' by hard-working investigators i n the next two decades was i t f i n a l l y shown that elements unite i n d e f i n i t e proportion to form a compound. 1 , 3 3 4 Thus, Lavoisier "was able to present chemistry i n a l o g i c a l order s t a r t i n g from the elements before considered as compounds of these elements. This was a l l the more necessary i n so f a r as substances which had previously been thought of as simple were now considered compound and v i c e v e r s a . " 3 3 5 For example, a metal had always been viewed as a compound and the calx as a simple substance, due to the fac t that 3 3 1 I b i d . , 107. 3 3 2 I b i d . 3 3 3 I b i d . , 108. 3 3 4 I b i d . 3 3 5 C r o s l a n d , "Chemistry and the Chemical Revolution," 109. 'something'(phlogiston) was believed to have been given o f f during combustion. Furthermore, L a v o i s i e r revealed that chemical composition was a good deal more complex than had been previously believed, when everything had been thought to be composed of some combination of one or more of the four basic elements, f i r e , a i r , water, and earth. Chemists of the phlogiston period attempted to explain chemical phenomena i n terms of mixtures or absorptions of these elements rather then i n terms of chemical reaction or bonding. Thus, La v o i s i e r f i n a l l y did away with the notion that chemical reactions could be explained i n terms of these four elements. Moreover, he "destroyed the status of a i r as an element, showing that i t was a mixture of gases, one of which took an active part i n combustion. S i m i l a r l y the A r i s t o t e l i a n element of water became i n the new chemistry a compound of hydrogen and oxygen." 3 3 6 We should not lose sight of the fact that Lavoisier gave a p a r t i c u l a r l y important r o l e to the balance f o r weighing substances and the c a r e f u l measurement of volumes of gases. This technique served as a diagnostic t o o l that would subsequently f a c i l i t a t e the a b i l i t y of chemists to make subtler d i s t i n c t i o n s between d i f f e r e n t kinds of gases, elements and compounds. Previously for example, carbon monoxide was often confused with hydrogen, as both gases share i n common the qu a l i t y of inflammability. Lavoisier's work gave impetus to the search for additional elements and 3 3 6 I b i d . , 409-411. 102 l a i d the foundation for the further development of chemical theory by Dalton and Avogadro during the early years of the nineteenth century. 103 IV. Evaluation of Doppelt's Argument. In t h i s section I w i l l examine a v a r i e t y of proposed external paradigm-neutral standards i n an attempt to show that they did indeed play a ro l e i n bringing about the chemical revolution which i s contrary to the Kuhnian thesis of incommensurability and epistemological r e l a t i v i s m put forward by Doppelt. I w i l l also dispute the claim that the chemical revolution was characterized by a s i g n i f i c a n t loss of data or by f a i l u r e to represent genuine cumulative progress i n s c i e n t i f i c knowledge. In any discussion of the external standards that can help to guide the framing of hypotheses we should not lose sight of the fac t that the heart of science i s observation. One of the primary roles of a hypothesis i s to explain past events or observations and to predict future ones. In other words, the hypothesis both explains and predicts, when i t implies "the past events that i t i s supposed to explain, and 337 future ones. "•'••" And most importantly, when a hypothesis f a i l s to predict future observations, then questions are reopened. Generally speaking, one can "adopt or entertain a hypothesis because i t would explain, i f i t were true, some things . . . already believed. I t s evidence i s seen i n i t s 3 38 c o n s e q u e n c e s . w e would also expect that a successful hypothesis would be "a two-way street, extending back to 337W. V.Quine and J.S. U l l i a n , The Web of B e l i e f . 2nd ed.(New York: Random House, 1970): 80. 3 3 8 I b i d . , 66. 104 explain the past and forward to predict the f u t u r e . " 3 3 9 At l e a s t t h i s i s an i d e a l condition for hypotheses to s a t i s f y , even though i t must be admitted that both r e t r o d i c t i o n and p r e d i c t i o n are not always s a t i s f i e d by an accepted hypothesis or theory. However, what "we t r y to do i n framing hypotheses i s to explain some otherwise unexplained happenings by inventing . . . a plausible description or h i s t o r y of relevant portions of the w o r l d . " 3 4 0 The most important question that we have to answer concerns, the nature of the e v i d e n t i a l warrant necessary for j u s t i f i c a t i o n , j u s t what evidence i s available, and the extent to which that evidence should count i n favor of j u s t i f y i n g a hypothesis. Various hypotheses w i l l be held more t e n t a t i v e l y than others, depending upon the degree of e v i d e n t i a l warrant that i s brought to bear i n support of a p a r t i c u l a r hypothesis. Thus, i n order to f u l l y understand the nature of e v i d e n t i a l support, and subsequently the strength of j u s t i f i c a t i o n for a hypothesis or theory we must look at the conditions or ' v i r t u e s 1 , that can supply incremental support f o r j u s t i f y i n g a hypothesis. P a r t i c u l a r importance should be attached to those v i r t u e s which are independent of the p a r t i c u l a r theories or paradigms being compared and which therefore deserve to be c l a s s i f i e d as external paradigm-neutral standards. 3 3 9 I b i d . 3 4 0 I b i d . 105 One v i r t u e , or external standard which a good s c i e n t i f i c hypothesis may possess i s 'conservatism 1. A hypothesis that i s designed to explain c e r t a i n events, may come into c o n f l i c t with other b e l i e f s . When faced with such a s i t u a t i o n i t i s necessary to r e j e c t some part of one's o v e r a l l 'web of b e l i e f s ' i n order to once again have a consistent set. In other words, acceptance of a hypothesis i s " l i k e acceptance of any b e l i e f i n that i t demands r e j e c t i o n of whatever c o n f l i c t s with i t . The les s r e j e c t i o n of p r i o r b e l i e f s required, the more pl a u s i b l e the hypothesis - other things being e q u a l . " 3 4 1 Thus, the external standard of conservatism has us " s a c r i f i c e . . . as l i t t l e as possible of e v i d e n t i a l support, whatever that may have been, that our o v e r a l l system of b e l i e f s has hitherto been e n j o y i n g . " 3 4 2 In addition, conservatism i s a good strategy f o r pursuing science, because the less we have to revise the les s l i k e l y that we w i l l make a r a d i c a l mistake. Another c l o s e l y related external standard i s 'modesty'. This c r i t e r i o n asserts that we should make only as small a change as possible i n our system of b e l i e f s i n order to account f o r some new phenomenon. Even when some new hypothesis i s completely compatible with our past b e l i e f s so that conservatism i s maintained, there i s s t i l l room for exercising modesty. In general a "hypothesis A i s more modest than A and B as a j o i n t hypothesis . . . one 3 4 1 I b i d . , 66-67. 3 4 2 I b i d . , 67. 106 hypothesis i s more modest than another i f i t i s more humdrum: that i s , i f the events that i t assumes to have happened are of a more usual and f a m i l i a r sort, hence more to be expected." In short, i t i s a good p o l i c y to assume as l i t t l e as possible that " w i l l s u f f i c e to account for the appearances. 1 , 3 4 4 Like conservatism, modesty helps to ensure that we take the smallest amount of r i s k i n making a serious error, when we account for new phenomena within our system of b e l i e f s . I t i s pertinent to ask whether or not the c r i t e r i a of conservatism and modesty were s a t i s f i e d when the chemical revolution took place. The loss of data argument i s relevant to t h i s issue. Thus, according to Doppelt and Kuhn, the "Daltonian revolution should not be viewed simply as the expansion of chemical theory to include the phenomena which the old chemistry accounted for, as well as the phenomena which the new chemistry accounted for, . . . because the new chemistry i n fact l o s t much of the a b i l i t y to account f o r the phenomena the old chemistry could account f o r . " 3 4 5 Furthermore, they claimed that "the new chemistry ceased to be fundamentally interested i n the problems the old chemistry took to be basic; the new chemistry instead relegated those problems to the back burner (or indeed, declared them ' u n s c i e n t i f i c ' ) , and took as central to chemical inquiry a new set of problems ('quantitative' aspects of chemical 3 4 3 I b i d . , 68. 3 4 4 I b i d . 3 4 5 S i e g e l , "Latest Form," 108. 107 reactions) regarded as l e s s than c r u c i a l by the old chemistry. 1 1 But i f we examine the s h i f t that occurred from the phlogiston theory to the oxygen theory and the subsequent development of chemistry, i t i s hard to see that there was any actual loss of raw observational data, including observations concerning the q u a l i t i e s of substances. The major difference between the paradigms was the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of data i n terms of the explanatory causal mechanisms that were ultimately held to be responsible f o r the observed chemical interactions. We can agree with Doppelt that the s c i e n t i f i c revolution i n chemistry, and i t s subsequent development including Daltonian chemistry, did adopt the view that " 1 quantitative problems concerning weight r e l a t i o n s and proportions' were deeper, and more basic to chemical theory, than the q u a l i t a t i v e questions addressed by pre-Daltonian c h e m i s t r y . " 3 4 7 However, as we have already seen, Lavoisier showed that i n order to understand the basic causal mechanisms responsible for chemical interactions, i t was necessary to account for the weights of the component substances, both before and a f t e r chemical interactions, as well as to i d e n t i f y and describe the q u a l i t a t i v e properties of the i n i t i a l substances and of the products produced i n chemical inte r a c t i o n s . In many ways, Lavoisier's r e l i a n c e on the balance ultimately helped the chemists of the period to 346 347 Ibid Ibid 108-109. 111. 108 make q u a l i t a t i v e d i s t i n c t i o n s between various compounds and elements, such as 'fixed a i r ' (CO2) and oxygen. I t may be the case that chemists to some degree placed attempts to explain the q u a l i t i e s of substances on the 'back burner,' but there i s l i t t l e i n the h i s t o r i c a l record to show that chemistry was not concerned to account f o r q u a l i t a t i v e properties when adequate explanations which were compatible with the avail a b l e evidence could be developed. What was temporarily l o s t during the early stages of the chemical revolution was some explanatory power, but the evidence i n support of the abandoned explanations was rather t h i n . For example, Doppelt argues that once the phlogiston theory was rejected, chemistry could no longer account for the s i m i l a r i t i e s of metals, by claiming that t h e i r common natures resulted from t h e i r a l l containing phlogiston, or that metals were shiny because they a l l were composed of some ' f i e r y s t u f f . Furthermore, when the o r i g i n a l four elements were done away with, i t was no longer possible to account for the physical state of substances by maintaining that a l l l i q u i d s contained water, or that a l l s o l i d s were such by vi r t u e of t h e i r containing earth, etc. We must admit that when there i s a change of t h i s magnitude we would expect there to be some gaps i n the new chemistry's a b i l i t y to explain everything the old chemistry had explained immediately a f t e r i t s adoption. Even i f we grant that a temporary loss of explanatory power may r e s u l t i n the early stages a f t e r a s h i f t from one paradigm to 109 another, I see no reason to suppose that t h i s necessarily implies that there i s any loss of genuine observational data, or that any actual loss may not be compensated by a larger body of data being explained by the new theory (or which i t promises to explain). As has already been pointed out, what the revolution amounted to was a d i f f e r e n t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the data concerning chemical processes i n the l i g h t of new observations which the old theory found d i f f i c u l t to explain. In addition, the decision of chemists to s h i f t allegiance from one paradigm to another and the debate that took place between adherents of these d i f f e r e n t paradigms can be explained at l e a s t to some degree by appeal to the v i r t u e s of conservatism and modesty. However, what i s c r u c i a l , i s that i n the long-run the j u s t i f i c a t i o n of the new chemistry can be shown to increasingly s a t i s f y a number of paradigm-neutral external standards. Furthermore, we can maintain that i n time , at l e a s t i n the long-run, the change i n the r e l a t i v e importance attached to the q u a l i t a t i v e and quantitative aspects of chemistry, a change which has been described as a s h i f t i n i n t e r n a l standards, was j u s t i f i e d by compelling reasons based upon external paradigm-neutral standards of evidence. I t can be persuasively argued that i f we a c t u a l l y compare the h i s t o r i c a l development of chemistry (as with other domains of science), we w i l l see that i f a new theory i s to have a long l i f e , i t must i n the long-run continue to grow i n i t s a b i l i t y to produce and explain more and more observational data then 110 did i t s predecessor. And when we compare contemporary chemistry with that of the phlogiston theory we can see, at l e a s t i n the long-run, how much t h i s has proved to be the case. No one would now argue that the phlogiston theory explained some data i n a more adequate or comprehensive way than does modern chemistry. Thus, i t appears that contemporary chemistry c e r t a i n l y has recouped any loss of data or explanatory power that might have occurred i n the short-run a f t e r the change from the phlogiston to oxygen theory. Although i t i s true that Doppelt's p o s i t i o n does not ru l e t h i s p o s s i b i l i t y out, he does leave one with the impression that i t i s s t i l l questionable whether or not even contemporary theory has recouped the data i t i n i t i a l l y l o s t . Thus, i t can be argued that as data accumulates i n support of a new theory, j u s t i f i c a t i o n can become compelling as i t demonstrates i t s s u p e r i o r i t y over i t s predecessor by providing a more thorough or comprehensive explanation of the o v e r a l l evidence. Paradigm-neutral standards are c r u c i a l i n determining which theory i s to win out over i t s r i v a l s . Another, important external standard or v i r t u e i s ' s i m p l i c i t y ' . Like both conservatism and modesty, s i m p l i c i t y i s considered to be a methodologically sound strategy i n science, as i t also helps to insulate us from error, and aids i n giving us a system of b e l i e f s that i s more manageable. This helps to ensure a science that i s able to make more testable predictions than would be the case i f s i m p l i c i t y was not preserved. There " i s a premium on s i m p l i c i t y i n any I l l hypothesis, but the highest premium i s i n the giant j o i n t hypothesis that i s science, or the p a r t i c u l a r science as a 348 whole." In other words, we " s a c r i f i c e s i m p l i c i t y of a part f o r greater s i m p l i c i t y of the whole when we see a way of 349 doing so." For example, a s c i e n t i s t should even be prepared to favour a more complex hypothesis than some a l t e r a t i v e , other things being equal, i f by so doing one can subsume the more complex hypothesis under an already established set of laws thus creating a u n i f i e d and simpler science or branch than was previously possible. The external standard of s i m p l i c i t y thus helps to work towards the unity of science, and t h i s v i r t u e i s also applicable to the chemical revolution. As we w i l l see, Lavoisier's oxygen theory was compatible with Newtonian physics and the phlogiston theory was not. I t can be argued that science as a whole was simpler by v i r t u e of adopting the oxygen theory inasmuch as the oxygen theory provided f o r greater unity then would have been the case i f the phlogiston theory had been retained. In time, Lavoisier's oxygen theory also proved to be simpler than the phlogiston theory when i t became necessary for the phlogiston theory to make a multitude of revisions i n order to account for the accumulating observations which subsequently were s a t i s f a c t o r i l y embodied i n the oxygen theory. In other words, the phlogiston theory became more 3 4 8 Q u i n e , Web Of B e l i e f . 69. 3 4 9 I b i d . 112 complex than the oxygen theory i n order for the former to r e t a i n as much generality as the l a t t e r . However, i t must be acknowledged that the evaluation of theories often involves an element of s u b j e c t i v i t y i n deciding what hypothesis or system of b e l i e f s i s simpler. In mathematics s i m p l i c i t y i s much more cl e a r cut than i n other areas of science. Debates as to j u s t what constitutes the most p l a u s i b l e hypothesis may r e s u l t when i t i s not cl e a r which of a l t e r n a t i v e hypotheses i s the simplest. But, i n s p i t e of these d i f f i c u l t i e s the standards of s i m p l i c i t y and economy of ideas are s t i l l a strong guide i n the pursuit of science. Often there i s not a great deal of difference between modesty and s i m p l i c i t y . I t i s often hard to separate standards into neat categories as they usually overlap with one another. We can conclude that conservatism, modesty and s i m p l i c i t y a l l are good strategies for pursuing science, because the "longer the leap, . . . the more and wider ways of going wrong. And we have seen that what recommends s i m p l i c i t y i s that the, "the more complex the hypothesis, the more and wilder ways of going wrong; for how can we t e l l which complexity to a d o p t ? " 3 5 0 Thus, s i m p l i c i t y l i k e conservatism and modesty, l i m i t s l i a b i l i t y 3 5 1 and therefore i s sound strategy. A l l three can help us to decide between 3 5 0 I b i d . , 72. 3 5 1 I b i d . 113 two or more theories that account f o r the same facts, as i l l u s t r a t e d by the chemical revolution. Generality i s another external standard which provides addi t i o n a l e v i d e n t i a l warrant to support a hypothesis or theory. Generality, i s concerned with the scope of a hypothesis' applic a t i o n . The " p l a u s i b i l i t y of a hypothesis depends l a r g e l y on how compatible the hypothesis i s with our being observers placed at random i n the w o r l d " 3 5 2 and t h i s can help to protect us from a hypothesis being confirmed merely by coincidence. In other words, the "more general the hypothesis i s by which we account for our present observations, the less of a coincidence i t i s that our present observation should f a l l under i t . to confer • • • 3 5 3 • • p l a u s i b i l i t y . " We should also keep i n mind that there might often be a trade-off between standards, such as modesty and generality. However, "generality i s desirable i n that i t makes a hypothesis i n t e r e s t i n g and important i f t r u e . " 3 5 4 Thus we can say, that when "a way i s seen of gaining great generality with l i t t l e loss of s i m p l i c i t y , or great s i m p l i c i t y with no loss of generality, then conservatism and modesty give way to s c i e n t i f i c r e v o l u t i o n s . " 3 5 5 As we s h a l l see, the discovery and characterization of oxygen, and the methods that were used to c l a r i f y the various reactions i n which i t participated, served as an example and 352 353 354 355 Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. 74. 75. 114 model which i n the course of ensuing decades were succes s f u l l y applied to permit the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of many other elements and compounds and the explanation of t h e i r i n t eractions, thereby s a t i s f y i n g the v i r t u e of generality. Conservatism lays emphasis on the lack of disagreement or c o n f l i c t between a new hypothesis and p r i o r b e l i e f s , so that the need for t h e o r e t i c a l r e v i s i o n i s minimized. But t h i s i s only one aspect of the ways i n which various components of our 'web of b e l i e f s ' may r e l a t e to one another. The degree to which a new observation or hypothesis brings p r i o r data and concepts into better agreement i s a property that has been described as coherence. 3 5 6 A d i s t i n c t i o n may be drawn between in t e r n a l and external forms of coherence. two d i f f e r e n t types of coherence . . . are both described rather n i c e l y by p h y s i c i s t Richard Feynman's statement . . . 'I know that the hypothesis i s a good one i f i t t i e s together and makes sense out of s t u f f I knew e a r l i e r but couldn't quite understand.'. . . The tying 'together' that Feynman i s t a l k i n g about i s of course coherence, and i t can be two kinds. . . Internal tying together ref e r s to the coherence within a s p e c i f i c f i e l d which i s contributed by a new hypothesis; external tyi n g together ref e r s to the coherence which obtains between the s p e c i f i c f i e l d and other f i e l d s . 3 5 7 , Coherence also includes the contribution to t h i s consistency which i s made by the new hypothesis. Thus, a new consistent and externally f i t s i n well with other aspects of These theory i s most acceptable i f i t i s both i n t e r n a l l y 356 357 Gale, Theory of Science, 223. Ibid., 224. 115 i t s own d i s c i p l i n e as well as with the t h e o r e t i c a l framework of other f i e l d s of investigation and the background concepts that comprise p r e v a i l i n g s c i e n t i f i c t r a d i t i o n . Given that "the h i s t o r i c a l facts of discoveries c l e a r l y exhibited . . . both conceptual innovation and conceptual c o n f l i c t " we must account for both of these factors i n doing j u s t i c e to 'sound' s c i e n t i f i c p r a c t i c e and the h i s t o r i c a l record. A s p e c i f i c decision about the a c c e p t a b i l i t y of a c e r t a i n hypothesis "requires that judgements be made concerning the amount of consistency as opposed to the amount of c o n f l i c t . " 3 5 9 However, we should point out, that not a l l aspects of a p a r t i c u l a r paradigm are of equal importance. A s i g n i f i c a n t aspect of s c i e n t i f i c paradigms " i s that the concepts are 3 6 0 structured into layers." For example, some "hypotheses are more hypothetical - believed more t e n t a t i v e l y than laws; and p r i n c i p l e s are held to be more accepted and necessary than laws; and so on." Thus, i t i s necessary to keep i n mind that when one encounters questions of consistency, when for example a new hypothesis i s i n c o n f l i c t with some other elements of a broader theory, i t i s always necessary to look at which l e v e l s of the paradigm are consistent with the new hypothesis and which l e v e l s c o n f l i c t with i t i n order to decide j u s t what should be rejected and what should be 358 359 360 361 Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. 226. 224. retained. Hypotheses may be viewed more favourably even i f they are contrary to other hypotheses which are under evaluation i f at the same time are i n better agreement with in v e s t i g a t i o n w i l l be required to resolve the issues which remain i n dispute. Thus, we can conclude that a hypothesis i s tenable i f i t i s consistent with the p r e v a i l i n g paradigm. Moreover, i n "cases where conceptual c o n f l i c t occurs between the p r e v a i l i n g paradigm and the new hypothesis, deeper-level coherence can make up for c o n f l i c t s between higher-level concepts and the new h y p o t h e s i s . " 3 6 3 For example, Lavoisier's hypothesis postulated that i n the process of c a l c i n a t i o n the metal combined with something i n the a i r , and t h i s was able to account for the weight gained by the calx. This hypothesis c o n f l i c t e d with the phlogiston theory which claimed that i n c a l c i n a t i o n phlogiston was given up from the metal i n order to form the calx, and t h i s suggested that phlogiston had a negative weight. However, t h i s aspect of the phlogiston theory contradicted Newton's law of universal g r a v i t a t i o n . Thus we see, that although Lavoisier's hypothesis c o n f l i c t e d with the phlogiston theory at a higher l e v e l , i t was i n agreement with Newton's law at a deeper l e v e l and therefore gained favour. Of course, the preferred s i t u a t i o n i s one i n which both i n t e r n a l and external types of consistency are completely s a t i s f i e d . the more basic laws and p r i n c i p l e s . 362 Presumably further 362 363 Ibid Ibid 225. 226. 117 Another type of coherence i s 'predictive coherence'. This kind of coherence takes place when the facts of some "discovery were i n no way l o g i c a l l y inconsistent with the body of s c i e n c e " 3 6 4 , but indeed could be anticipated as a consequence of the theory being proposed. Thus, the "function of coherence i n t h i s kind of case i s easy to understand, and presents no r e a l problem. . . . The new discovery coheres simply because i t i s , f o r a l l p r a c t i c a l purposes l o g i c a l l y predictable from the paradigm." 3 6 5 I t i s important to r e a l i z e that the concept of coherence involves more than consistency between the separate components of a theory but also includes i t s agreement with the empirical evidence which i s necessary to provide support for the the s i s i n question, such as observational data or i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of any objective e n t i t y postulated to p a r t i c i p a t e i n i t s mechanisms. In order for widely held b e l i e f s to add j u s t i f i c a t i o n f or theory acceptance, those b e l i e f s must have empirical evidence and/or l o g i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e i n order for consistency or coherence to count as j u s t i f i c a t i o n f or a theory. Thus, counter to Laudan, the fact that a hypothesis i s consistent with well entrenched b e l i e f s , such as r e l i g i o u s precepts, i s not i n i t s e l f adequate f o r j u s t i f i e d acceptance, even though i t might at one time have served for some as a s u f f i c i e n t c r i t e r i o n for actual acceptance. We cannot lose sight of the need for 3 6 4 I b i d . , 223. 3 6 5 I b i d . 118 adequate empirical evidence as the c r u c i a l p rerequisite to j u s t i f y acceptance of any theory. For example, Lavoisier was faced both with the question of coherence and with the ontological question of whether or not he could i s o l a t e and i d e n t i f y an e n t i t y that had the p a r t i c u l a r properties that h i s hypothesis postulated. We can understand that the ontological question, as applied to est a b l i s h i n g hypotheses, s i m i l a r l y "involves questions about 3 6 6 objects and properties." In other words, the question i n " i t s most e s s e n t i a l formulation, . . . asks . . . 'Does the hypothesis commit me to any p a r t i c u l a r b e l i e f s about objects 3 67 or properties i n the universe?*" Another aspect, i n the j u s t i f i c a t i o n of a theory or hypothesis i s whether or not the "new objects or properties . . . can be f i t t e d into "ICO consistent causal pictures of the observational world." We can assert that the acceptance of a new hypothesis was more j u s t i f i e d when i t i s the case that the objects i t posits to e x i s t are s i m i l a r i n kind to our ordinary conceptions of objects, such as that they have mass, can be located i n space and i n time, and can be i s o l a t e d from other objects and i d e n t i f i e d as d i s t i n c t e n t i t i e s . In other words, a qeneral axiom of human cognition i s that i t must "reduce the flux of perception - the never-ending sequence of ever-changing sights, sounds, f e e l s , smells of the physical world - to a stable order of objects. . . . v i a i t s use of the concepts of 366 367 368 Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. 2 0 9 . 119 objects e x i s t i n g through time, stable i n t h e i r causal interactions.» 3 6 9 In general, science begins with observations of phenomena which are "precisely formulated, and thought i s turned to the question 'What sort of an object, with what sorts of s p e c i f i c q u a l i t i e s , could be responsible f o r the features I o b s e r v e ? " 3 7 0 Thus, given that "Lavoisier brought back reports of a strange new substance which was contained i n the a i r , " 3 7 1 we could ask whether or not such an object with the r e q u i s i t e properties could be i s o l a t e d and i d e n t i f i e d ? One answer to t h i s question i s that, i n keeping with the v i r t u e of modesty, we could "catalog our various previous kinds of objects i n an e f f o r t to f i n d something whose behaviour i s at l e a s t s i m i l a r to what i s going on i n the s i t u a t i o n at hand." 3 7 2 To reason from "well-known, past theories of objects to present unfamiliar s i t u a t i o n s re q u i r i n g new sorts of objects and behaviors, i s c a l l e d 'analogy' or 'modelling.'" 3 7 3 And furthermore, the "new construct which we invent to explain the wondered-about observations i s c a l l e d an analogy or model. . . Then, once our concepts about the model are r e l a t i v e l y developed . . . we go out into the world ( i . e . , set up experiments i n the lab) and attempt to f i n d and bring back a l i v e one of the new 3 6 9 I b i d . , 210-211. 3 7 0 I b i d . , 211. 3 7 1 I b i d . , 210. 3 7 2 I b i d . , 212. 3 7 3 I b i d . 120 beasts postulated i n the model. II 374 In other words, "the model - the new hypothesis - refe r s to a 'hypothetical mechanism' which at l e a s t has the status of a candidate for provide a good explanation for a candidate theory and i f ultimately i t o f f e r s the p r o b a b i l i t y that i t can be captured, then the hypothesis stands a good chance of being acceptable. F i n a l l y , i f the object i s a c t u a l l y observed, then the new e n t i t y can be said to e x i s t and the hypothesis i s at that point strengthened. Thus, i n t h i s p a r t i a l account of the s c i e n t i f i c process which began the chemical revolution, i t can be claimed that two important goals of science were s a t i s f i e d . For example, one was achieved "since the hypothetical mechanism was o r i g i n a l l y invented i n order to be responsible for producing the wonder, the hypothesis explains. That i s , i t t e l l s us why and how the sur p r i s i n g s i t u a t i o n o c c u r s " 3 7 6 Furthermore, "given that i t explains well, the concept of the hypothetical mechanism w i l l motivate researchers to attempt to f i n d i t . F i n a l l y , i f the new beast i s found and brought back a l i v e , then c e r t a i n l y the second goal of science, pred i c t i o n and control, w i l l be s a t i s f i e d . " 3 7 7 As we w i l l see, oxygen was ultimately i s o l a t e d and c l e a r l y i d e n t i f i e d as a separate e n t i t y . Unlike oxygen, phlogiston was postulated, but never i s o l a t e d and i d e n t i f i e d existence." 375 I f a hypothetical object seems necessary to 374 375 376 377 Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. 121 as a d i s t i n c t e n t i t y from other substances. In one of the various versions of the phlogiston theory, phlogiston was i d e n t i f i e d with 'inflammable a i r ' (hydrogen). But t h i s was not a s a t i s f a c t o r y suggestion because'airs• " r i c h i n phlogiston were supposed to i n h i b i t combustion, yet pure phlogiston burns! When things burn they are supposed to release phlogiston, so i t would seem when phlogiston burns i t i s released from i t s e l f l " 3 7 8 Thus, t h i s hypothetical en t i t y not only f a i l e d to display the predicted properties, but instead gave r i s e to apparent contradictions, thereby f a i l i n g the t e s t of i n t e r n a l consistency or coherence. Let us now pursue our comparison of the phlogiston and oxygen theories i n order to ascertain how consistent each was with the known facts of chemistry, as well as how each chemical theory i s consistent with other conceptual schemes, such as the physics of the time. For example, not only was Lavoisier's oxygen hypothesis not i n t e r n a l l y consistent with the p r e v a i l i n g phlogiston paradigm "and indeed contradicted i t , but at the same time, exhibited an extremely deep l e v e l of coherence to the physics of h i s time. Thus i t was that oxygen, considered as a substance with p o s i t i v e g r a v i t a t i o n a l mass, f i t very c l o s e l y to the fundamental law of g r a v i t a t i o n Alan Musgrave, "Why Did Oxygen Supplant Phlogiston? Research Programmes In The Chemical Revolution," i n Method  And Appraisal In The Physical Sciences: The C r i t i c a l  Background To Modern Science. 1800-1905. ed. C o l i n Howson (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1976): 190. 122 i n physics while phlogiston with i t s negative weight could not be matched into the physical paradigm. 1 , 3 7 9 Nevertheless, i t has been suggested that philosophers of science "who think that the ev i d e n t i a l support of a theory depends s o l e l y upon the timeless l o g i c a l r e l a t i o n s between theory and evidence w i l l have to say that 1784 phlogiston theory had as much ev i d e n t i a l support as 1784 oxygen." 3 8 0 For example, i t can be said that both theories "explained the main facts about combustion and c a l c i n a t i o n (and both faced some outstanding a n o m a l i e s ) . " 3 8 1 However, t h i s was not the decision that was made by "chemists of the l a t e eighteenth 3 8 2 • • century." This i s because there were important reasons for maintaining the su p e r i o r i t y of the oxygen theory over the phlogiston theory. One reason i s that s c i e n t i s t s recognized the f a c t that "phlogiston theory merely accommodated known fact s , many of which had been discovered by t e s t i n g predictions made within the oxygen programme. 1 , 3 8 3 Moreover, s c i e n t i s t s could see that the "1784 phlogiston theory was inconsistent with the previous version, and marked a return to the imponderable [or weightless] phlogiston of S t a h l . " 3 8 4 Thus, we can "contrast . . . t h i s incoherent development with the smooth development of the various versions of the oxygen 3 8 5 • programme. "•aoi' i n addition, the oxygen theory "developed 3 7 9 G a l e , A "Theory of Science. 225-226. J O UMusgrave, "Why Did Oxygen Supplant Phlogiston?" 205. 3 8 1 I b i d . 3 8 2 I b i d . 3 8 3 Ibid. 3 8 4 I b i d . 3 8 5 I b i d . 123 coherently and each new version was t h e o r e t i c a l l y and empirically progressive, whereas a f t e r 1770 the phlogiston 386 programme d i d neither. In considering what external standards of ev i d e n t i a l warrant there are for the j u s t i f i c a t i o n of theory choice, i t i s important to r e a l i z e that more i s involved i n defining adequate standards for theory evaluation than simply being able to account f o r the fa c t s . Let us r e c a l l Lavoisier's use of quantitative methods i n h i s examination of the c a l c i n a t i o n of mercury on the surface of a l i q u i d i n a closed container (see figure 1., page 64) i n order to see how the ap p l i c a t i o n of at l e a s t some of the paradigm-independent standards of evi d e n t i a l warrant and the use of l o g i c a l analysis could provide a good t e s t of the merits of the phlogiston theory. Before, proceeding with our analysis of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r experiment, i t w i l l be p r o f i t a b l e to f i r s t examine some of the conditions that are necessary for an experiment to be a 'GOOD TEST' of a hypothesis or theory. In the f i r s t place, A GOOD TEST of a t h e o r e t i c a l hypothesis i s an organized set of circumstances involving the HYPOTHESIS, INITIAL CONDITIONS, and a PREDICTION. These components must s a t i s f y the following conditions. (1) The predic t i o n i s l o g i c a l l y DEDUCIBLE from the hypothesis together with the i n i t i a l conditions. (2) Relative to everything else known at the time (excluding the hypothesis being tested), i t must be IMPROBABLE that the predic t i o n w i l l turn out to be true. 3 8 6 I b i d . 124 (3) I t must be possible, at the appropriate time, to VERIFY whether the predic t i o n i s i n fac t true or not. In a nutshell, a good t e s t of a t h e o r e t i c a l hypothesis requires i n i t i a l conditions and a pred i c t i o n which i s (1) deducible, (2) improbable, and (3) v e r i f i a b l e . In j u s t i f y i n g t h e o r e t i c a l hypotheses, s c i e n t i s t s follow a SIMPLE INDUCTIVE RULE. If the predic t i o n i s successful, the hypothesis i s j u s t i f i e d . I f %he prediction f a i l s , the hypothesis i s r e f u t e d . 3 8 7 Furthermore, i t i s important to point out that the simple inductive rule . . . does not guarantee a true conclusion, but i t does make i t very l i k e l y that the conclusion reached i s i n fact true. What we have yet to see i s the reasoning behind the rule set out e x p l i c i t l y i n argument form with premises and conclusion. I f the experiment i s a GOOD TEST of the hypothesis, then the predic t i o n can be deduced from the hypothesis together with appropriate i n i t i a l conditions. Given that, "'H* stands for Hypothesis, 'IC 1 for i n i t i a l conditions, and 'P' for the p r e d i c t i o n , * " 3 8 9 our f i r s t condition for a good t e s t i s "Condition 1: I f (H and IC), then P." 3 9 0 The next major requirement of a GOOD TEST was that the prediction be something known to be IMPROBABLE when the t e s t i s designed. In order to capture t h i s requirement i n a conditional statement, we must e x p l i c i t l y take account of the knowledge used to j u s t i f y the claim that the pred i c t i o n i s indeed improbable. Such knowledge i s often quite diverse. Let us therefore abbreviate a l l t h i s knowledge by the l e t t e r ' B,' for BACKGROUND knowledge. The required conditional statement, then 3 8 7 G i e r e , Understanding S c i e n t i f i c Reasoning, 105. 3 8 8 I b i d . , 107. 3 8 9 I b i d . 3 9 0 I b i d . 125 may be written as: Condition 2: I f (Not H and IC and B), then very probably not P . 3 9 1 I t needs to be pointed out that 'not H' i n condition 2 i s not known to be the case. Condition 2 i s intended to impose the requirement that i f the hypothesis does not hold, then the occurrence of P i s u n l i k e l y . I f P was l i k e l y to occur, regardless of whether or not H was the case, then P's v e r i f i c a t i o n would o f f e r l i t t l e i f any support for the hypothesis being tested. Let us now apply t h i s model to the experimental r e s u l t s of Lavoisier's t e s t where mercury oxide was heated i n a closed j a r , and then determine j u s t what conclusions i t would be reasonable to draw from the r e s u l t s . We can characterize the experiment thus: H: The experimental setup roughly f i t s a phlogiston model of combustion. IC: The various facts describing the experiment are as outlined above. P: The remaining mercury and red powder together weigh LESS than the o r i g i n a l sample of mercury alone. And the l e v e l of the l i q u i d inside the j a r should go DOWN.392 But i n fact the reverse of the anticipated r e s u l t was observed. The s o l i d residue weighed more than the s t a r t i n g material and the f l u i d l e v e l i n the j a r rose as the volume of the gas i t contained decreased. Thus, the p r e d i c t i o n f a i l e d to occur. Applying the simple inductive r u l e we conclude immediately that the predicted outcome f a i l e d to occur, weakening the theory upon which i t was based and i n fact 3 9 1 I b i d . , 107-108. 3 9 2 I b i d . , 116. 126 rendering i t highly improbable. "To construct the ARGUMENT j u s t i f y i n g our conclusion, we combine Condition 1 with the r e s u l t of the experiment as follows: I f (H and IC), then P. Not P and IC. Thus, Not H. " 3 9 3 An a l t e r n a t i v e for 'IC i s the ' a u x i l i a r y hypotheses' which together with the hypothesis under t e s t e n t a i l a predi c t i o n , or which may have been t a c i t l y assumed to be a part of the background conditions. Before continuing with our discussion of what constitutes a 'good t e s t ' of a new hypothesis, we must acknowledge that the preceding model i s i n some respects an ov e r - s i m p l i f i c a t i o n of the s c i e n t i f i c process. For example, the a u x i l i a r y or i n i t i a l conditions of any experiment are not always known to be the case. I t i s important to bear i n mind that no theory, laws or hypothesis e n t a i l any predictions without the augmentation of some conditions that are believed to describe the i n i t i a l state of the system, and where the hypothesis under t e s t i s only one of the components of the system. S c i e n t i s t s must make assumptions as to which conditions a c t u a l l y obtain i n a p a r t i c u l a r experiment, along with the hypothesis under t e s t . Thus the hypothesis alone e n t a i l s no s p e c i f i c outcomes or predictions without the further addition of a u x i l i a r y conditions. When a prediction made by a hypothesis and i t s i n i t i a l conditions f a i l s to occur we are forced to make a 3 9 3 I b i d . 127 r e v i s i o n i n e i t h e r the hypothesis under t e s t or i n the other conditions. The negative r e s u l t of the experiment doesn't t e l l us where to make the r e v i s i o n . We could even question whether or not the measurement of the experimental r e s u l t was subject to error and that t h i s might have been responsible fo r f a i l u r e of the prediction to take place. The degree to which a u x i l i a r y conditions are known may vary depending upon the p a r t i c u l a r case. The conditions that are postulated are often held to be s i m p l i f i c a t i o n s of the a u x i l i a r y conditions that a c t u a l l y pertain, and thus i n t h i s respect may be said to be questionable or f a l s e . Some of the background knowledge or conditions might also be more fir m l y established than other a u x i l i a r y hypotheses. These conditions would be less subject to r e v i s i o n than others assumed to be operative i n the experiment, when the p r e d i c t i o n made by the hypothesis f a i l s to occur. In addition, i t i s often assumed that other a u x i l i a r y conditions may be so i n s i g n i f i c a n t i n t h e i r influence on an experiment that they may be disregarded or deemed i r r e l e v a n t to the s i t u a t i o n at hand. We w i l l return to t h i s question when we discuss the v i r t u e of ' r e f u t a b i l i t y 1 . Let us now continue with our discussion of what constitutes a 'good test* for a hypotheses or theory and how i t pertains to the phlogiston theory. One conclusion that we can be drawn i s that i f the PHLOGISTON THEORY includes the general hypothesis that ALL combustion-like processes f i t phlogiston 128 models, then Lavoisier's experiment refuted the theory as well. But no defender of the phlogiston theory interpreted i t so broadly. What i n fact happened i s that members of the THEORETICAL TRADITION based on phlogiston models MODIFIED t h e i r models to accommodate Lavoisier's r e s u l t s . This i s a s c i e n t i f i c a l l y sound strategy for dealing with unwelcome fa c t s . But the strategy does not pay o f f unless these new models y i e l d j u s t i f i a b l e hypotheses. Merely coming up with a revised model that f i t s the known r e s u l t s i s not enough. J u s t i f i c a t i o n requires f u l l - f l e d g e d t e s t s that s a t i s f y condition 2 as well as condition 1. Phlogiston t h e o r i s t s were not able to do t h i s successfully. Some of the revised phlogiston models at t r i b u t e d a NEGATIVE MASS to phlogiston. This put phlogiston chemists at odds with Newtonian p h y s i c i s t s , for whom a l l p a r t i c l e s have POSITIVE mass. Some models postulate that phlogiston i s l i g h t e r than a i r and thus exhibits a buoyancy e f f e c t - l i k e the bladder i n a f i s h or the hot a i r balloons that were then popular i n France. Other models s p e c i f i e d that the escaping phlogiston i s replaced by water vapor, which has greater mass and greater volume than phlogiston. This accounts both for the increased mass of the mercury sample and the decreased volume of the a i r . But none of these models were j u s t i f i e d i n applications to further experiments. They kept on being refuted. By 1789 the phlogiston t r a d i t i o n was e f f e c t i v e l y dead, even though P r i e s t l e y himself defended i t i n a text published as l a t e as 1796. 3 9 4 I t can be concluded that, the " o b j e c t i v i t y of SCIENCE, imperfect as i t i s , i s not a function of the o b j e c t i v i t y of SCIENTISTS. I t i s a function of the ' l o g i c a l ' rules of the game. These are embodied i n the s p e c i f i c a t i o n of a good t e s t , and thus i n Conditions 1 and 2. 1 , 3 9 5 Let us r e c a l l (page, 42) Doppelt's contention that, at lea s t i n the short-run, new theories are not more reasonable to accept than the ones they replace and are not i n fact accepted by most s c i e n t i s t s on the p o s i t i v i s t c r i t e r i o n of increasing cumulative empirical adequacy. In reply to 3 9 4 I b i d . , 116-117. 3 9 5 I b i d . , 117.. 129 Doppelt, i t can be argued that what has l e d p a r t i c u l a r s c i e n t i s t s to abandon one paradigm and adopt another i n the early stages of the t r a n s i t i o n between them has h i s t o r i c a l i n t e r e s t but i s of no epistemic importance and properly belongs to the domain of psychology and sociology, and not to the philosophy of science. For example j u s t what led Lavoi s i e r to choose to pursue an a l t e r n a t i v e to the phlogiston theory has at best marginal epistemic importance. And whether or not i t i s r a t i o n a l for an i n d i v i d u a l s c i e n t i s t to c l i n g to an old theory while i t i s being undermined by new observations, as P r i e s t l y did with respect to phlogiston, also i s beside the point. However, what i s important i s whether or not the decisions to accept new paradigms at the time when they were made by the bulk of a s c i e n t i f i c community, such as the .choice of most chemists to abandon the phlogiston theory i n favour of oxygen, were i n fact j u s t i f i e d on the basis of shared external paradigm-neutral standards which apply uniformly to successive paradigms, and which transcend the int e r n a l standards of p a r t i c u l a r paradigms. Another lesson to be drawn from the above analysis of Lavoisier's experiment i n which he decomposed the oxide of mercury i s that, the "rules of the game ensure that the harder one t r i e s to get a good j u s t i f i c a t i o n , the greater the r i s k of refutation-unless the hypothesis i s indeed on the ri g h t t r a c k . " 3 9 6 3 9 6 I b i d . 130 This leads us to another key external standard, ' r e f u t a b i l i t y 1 . R e f u t a b i l i t y requires that "some imaginable event, recognizable i f i t occurs, must s u f f i c e to refute the hypothesis. Otherwise, the hypothesis predicts nothing, i s confirmed by nothing, and confers no earthly good beyond 397 perhaps a mistaken peace of mind." Again, we must be car e f u l not to over-simplify the s c i e n t i f i c process and acknowledge Pierre Duhem's point that t h e o r e t i c a l l y one can maintain that j u s t about any hypothesis "can be unrefuted no matter what, by making enough adjustments i n our b e l i e f s . " 3 9 8 This was the course of action pursued by those who pers i s t e d i n t h e i r support f o r the phlogiston theory a f t e r i t had already been abandoned by most chemists. However, i n spi t e of the correctness of Duhem's assertion, we must bear i n mind that saving a hypothesis from being refuted by experimental counter-evidence w i l l involve some incremental costs. In other words, the degree to which a hypothesis can be said to be refutable " i s measured by the cost of re t a i n i n g the hypothesis i n the face of imaginable e v e n t s . " 3 9 9 We must measure the degree i n terms of "how dearly we cherish the previous b e l i e f s that would have to be s a c r i f i c e d to save the hypothesis. The greater the s a c r i f i c e the more refutable the h y p o t h e s i s . " 4 0 0 Thus, we can draw the conclusion that i n science there are often times when saving 397 398 399 400 Quine, Web of B e l i e f , 79. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. a hypothesis would require too great a cost by forcing us to give up or change many of our firmly held b e l i e f s which had been l o g i c a l l y sound, well founded according to our external standards, and well confirmed by the evidence. This would demand too large a s a c r i f i c e for us reasonably to make. For example, we would not want to s a c r i f i c e contemporary physical theory i n order to r e t a i n some hypothesis that was not confirmed by experimental t e s t (such as the recent e f f o r t to salvage the notion of 'cold' fusion i n s p i t e of contrary evidence), because the cost of maintaining such a hypothesis would deprive us of a t h e o r e t i c a l system with much explanatory power. In general, theories that have enjoyed much success i n both explanatory and pr e d i c t i v e power have proved to be highly r e s i s t a n t to f a l s i f i c a t i o n . But, as we have already pointed out, when a theory does encounter contrary-evidence we are faced with a choice of abandoning the hypothesis, ignoring the outcome by a t t r i b u t i n g i t to experimental error, making some r e v i s i o n of the hypothesis, or modifying the o r i g i n a l a u x i l i a r y conditions. We must acknowledge that i f a p a r t i c u l a r hypothesis has been highly successful i n making confirmed predictions we would be les s j u s t i f i e d i n abandoning i t than might otherwise be the case. And, t h i s i s es p e c i a l l y true when there i s no other a l t e r n a t i v e hypothesis which i s eithe r capable of, or p o t e n t i a l l y promises to explain both the old and the new data. Without an al t e r n a t i v e theory, s c i e n t i s t s would e f f e c t i v e l y abandon 132 t h e i r f i e l d of science i f they rejected a well-tested theory on the basis of an anomaly or experimental counter-evidence, when no new equally p l a u s i b l e theory or paradigm i s ava i l a b l e . But, i n spite of what has already been said, t h i s does not mean that the counter-evidence can simply be ignored. In fac t s c i e n t i s t s must t r y to f i n d a s a t i s f a c t o r y means of accounting for t h i s counter-evidence, even i n the l i g h t of proposed a l t e r a t i o n s to the a u x i l i a r y conditions of the hypothesis. In addition, there might be varying degrees of evidence i n favour of c e r t a i n conditions pertaining to the si t u a t i o n , so that r e v i s i o n i s not a purely a r b i t r a r y choice, or one without l i m i t s . And i t i s for t h i s reason that the v i r t u e of r e f u t a b i l i t y s t i l l retains i t s teeth i n requiring that there be some event(s) that could ultimately over-throw a new hypothesis unless i t can be saved by the adoption of reasonable a u x i l i a r y hypotheses. However, revis i o n s of the a u x i l i a r y hypotheses must eventually be j u s t i f i e d by some further evidence showing that at le a s t some aspect of one 1 s assumed IC's were i n some respect mistaken. We need to be car e f u l i n making t h i s s t i p u l a t i o n . We are not claiming that a l l theories must be highly f a l s i f i a b l e , but that well established theories are those which have been adequately tested and found to be r e s i s t a n t to f a l s i f i c a t i o n i n contrast to theories that have not yet established themselves as the r e s u l t of t h e i r past success. At t h i s point i t w i l l be p r o f i t a b l e to compare the his t o r y of Newtonian physics and i t s attempt to account for 133 the astronomical deviation of Uranus' o r b i t within i t s t h e o r e t i c a l framework, with the attempt which was made to introduce the concept of negative weight i n order to reconcile the weight gain during c a l c i n a t i o n with the t h e o r e t i c a l system which postulated the loss of phlogiston i n t h i s process. When the o r b i t of Uranus was found to deviate from the course predicted by Newtonian physics, the theory was subject e i t h e r to 'revision or re f u t a t i o n * . However i n t h i s instance conservatism prevailed as "one i s loath to revise extensively a well established set of b e l i e f s , e s p e c i a l l y a set so deeply entrenched as a basic portion of p h y s i c s . " 4 0 1 Thus, given the fac t that "Uranus had been observed to be as much as two minutes of arc from i t s calculated p o s i t i o n , what was sought was a discovery that would render t h i s deviation explicable within the framework of accepted theory. Then the theory and i t s generality would be unimpaired, and the new complexity would be mi n i m a l . " 4 0 2 Given the success of Newton's laws of g r a v i t a t i o n i n predicting the o r b i t s of the other planets i n the solar system, some counter-evidence such as Uranus's deviation i n i t s predicted o r b i t would hardly f a l s i f y a theory that had so much explanatory and pr e d i c t i v e success. As we now know, an additional planet, Neptune, was the discovered cause for Uranus* deviation from i t s predicted o r b i t . 4 0 1 I b i d . , 77. 4 0 2 I b i d . 134 However, before the discovery of Neptune was made, i t "would have been possible i n p r i n c i p l e to speculate that some spe c i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Uranus exempted that planet from the physical laws that are followed by other planets. I f such a hypothesis had been resorted to Neptune would not have been discovered; not then, at any r a t e . " 4 0 3 However, there may be good reasons not to evoke t h i s type of hypothesis i n order to accommodate counter-evidence. At t h i s stage we can di s t i n g u i s h between two types of 1 ad hoc' hypotheses. An ad hoc a l t e r a t i o n of some p a r t i c u l a r IC may be reasonable i n view of counter-evidence. On the other hand, some other kinds of ad hoc hypotheses may be much less reasonable to make, as for example, when some kind of spe c i a l or unique force i s postulated to save a theory i n spi t e of an anomaly. Revision of one's IC i s an unreasonable ad hoc amendment when such forces only apply to that s p e c i f i c s i t u a t i o n . Thus, some • ad hoc 1 hypotheses are more reasonable to make than others. I t may be sensible to assume that the i n i t i a l conditions were mistaken i n the l i g h t of counter-evidence to an otherwise successful theory. In these circumstances one may be able to save a p a r t i c u l a r hypothesis or theory from f a l s i f i c a t i o n . As Putnam points out, "an a l t e r a t i o n i n one's b e l i e f s , may be ad hoc without 0 3 I b i d . , 77-78. 135 being unreasonable. 'Ad hoc' merely means 'to t h i s s p e c i f i c purpose'." 4 0 4 The deviation of the o r b i t of Uranus from that expected i n accordance with Newton's law of universal g r a v i t a t i o n and the composition of the solar system insofar as i t was known at that time led astronomers to suggest an addition to t h e i r set of a u x i l i a r y assumptions (Giere's i n i t i a l conditions), namely the presence of another as yet undetected planet taken together these premises enabled them to predict the o r b i t which t h i s planet should follow so that they would know where to look for i t . A hypothesis that accounted for the deviation of the o r b i t of Uranus by postulating that t h i s p a r t i c u l a r planet was not subject to the laws that the other planets i n the solar system are subject to, i s the type of ad hoc hypothesis that can be said to be unreasonable because t h i s type of hypothesis lacks both the v i r t u e s of s i m p l i c i t y and generality. Thus, we can draw the conclusion that ad hoc hypotheses of t h i s pejorative type are those which "purport to account for some p a r t i c u l a r observations by supposing some very special forces to be at work i n the p a r t i c u l a r case at hand, and not generalizing s u f f i c i e n t l y beyond those c a s e s . " 4 0 5 In these circumstances, the l i k e l i h o o d of obtaining further evidence which can o f f e r support f o r the new a u x i l i a r y hypothesis i s very remote. 4 0 4 H i l a r y Putnam, "The 'Corroboration of Theories," i n S c i e n t i f i c Revolutions, ed. Ian Hacking (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981): 76. 4 0 5 Q u i n e , Web of B e l i e f . 78. 136 However, the u n d e s i r a b i l i t y of adopting such a hypothesis varies i n degree. For example, the "extreme case i s where the hypothesis only covers the observations i t was intended to account for, so that i t i s t o t a l l y useless i n predict i o n . Then also i t i s insusceptible of confirmation, which would come of our v e r i f y i n g i t s p r e d i c t i o n s . 1 , 4 0 6 In fact, the hypothesis that phlogiston had negative weight, which was introduced i n order to account f o r the gain i n weight during c a l c i n a t i o n i s a f a i r l y extreme case of an ad hoc hypothesis that lacks any general a p p l i c a t i o n beyond the s i t u a t i o n for which i t was devised to account. As already mentioned, we should be suspicious of j u s t one substance ex h i b i t i n g t h i s s p e c i a l property without any independent evidence f o r t h i s supposition outside of the fac t that i f true the anomalous weight gain i n c a l c i n a t i o n would no longer count against the theory. Moreover, even i f we were w i l l i n g to allow t h i s move i n p r i n c i p l e , i t i s contradicted by those instances i n which phlogiston apparently cannot be assigned a negative weight. Furthermore, the fact that L a v o i s i e r was able to account for the weights of a l l of the components both before and a f t e r various chemical reactions, and the fact that the i n i t i a l and f i n a l weights of the reactants were equal i n a l l testable s i t u a t i o n s , o f f e r s strong evidence against the notion of any substance having a negative weight. In other words giving phlogiston a negative weight does not provide an i n t e l l i g i b l e mechanism to explain the 4 0 6 I b i d . 137 gain i n weight during c a l c i n a t i o n . In general, i t can be maintained that a hypothesis " s t r i k e s us as giving an i n t e l l i g i b l e mechanism when the hypothesis rates well i n "a t t a i n the ultimate i n t e l l i g i b i l i t y of mechanism, no doubt, when we see how to explain something i n terms of physical impact, or the f a m i l i a r and general laws of m o t i o n . " 4 0 8 In general i t can be argued that i t i s easier to refute a hypothesis than to j u s t i f y i t . However, to some degree t h i s may be an over s i m p l i f i c a t i o n of the s c i e n t i f i c process. A s c i e n t i s t might t r y to save a hypothesis when i t s pre d i c t i o n was not r e a l i z e d during experiment by modifying or r e v i s i n g the i n i t i a l conditions of the experiment. In theory, nothing i s immune from r e v i s i o n , although i n practice the r e s u l t i n g revisions must r e s u l t i n a working theory that i s not continually refuted by further experiment, and the theory should also be able to make further f r u i t f u l predictions that can be experimentally confirmed. In some cases i t would be absurd to make wholesale revi s i o n s to save a hypothesis as t h i s would deprive us of much explanatory power. The more revisions required to save a hypothesis or theory, the more l i k e l y the theory w i l l lose i t s a b i l i t y to make further predictions that can be experimentally v e r i f i e d . Thus, a theory might collapse under the weight of the necessary r e v i s i o n s . In the case of the phlogiston theory, f a m i l i a r i t y , generality, s i m p l i c i t y . " 407 Moreover, we 407 i 408 T i b i d . Ibid. 138 as we s h a l l see, i t can be argued that so many revisions became necessary that i t was progressively l e s s able to accommodate new data and make p r o f i t a b l e predictions, and as a r e s u l t l o s t much of i t s a b i l i t y to explain the relevant phenomena. Another questionable type of hypothesis i s one that i s evoked "to save some other hypothesis from r e f u t a t i o n by systematically excusing the f a i l u r e s of i t s p r e d i c t i o n s . " 4 0 9 Like an ad hoc hypothesis, t h i s type of saving hypothesis "shares the t r a i t s of i n s u s c e p t i b i l i t y of confirmation and uselessness i n p r e d i c t i o n . 1 , 4 1 0 We have seen that p h l o g i s t o n i s t s attempted to save t h e i r theory from being refuted by using additional post hoc hypotheses to insulate the theory from being refuted. However, the addition of such saving hypotheses produces a theory that can no longer make accurate and testable predictions, which as a r e s u l t must deprive i t of ev i d e n t i a l warrant. I f t h i s was not the case i t would be possible to salvage almost any theory. An i n f i n i t e l y e l a s t i c theory would be e n t i r e l y useless and could not explain anything i n terms of an i n t e l l i g i b l e mechanism. What could explain anything, explains nothing. The h i s t o r y of the chemical revolution shows that adherents of the phlogiston theory repeatedly revised t h e i r system i n an e f f o r t to keep i t compatible with the observational data and the various anomalies that i t faced. 4 0 9 I b i d . 4 1 0 I b i d . 139 Under the phlogiston theory some "well-known facts about combustion . . . were not explained: why does combustion soon cease i n an enclosed volume of a i r , and why i s the volume of a i r reduced by i t ; why won't things burn at a l l i n a vacuum? Worse s t i l l , other well-known facts seemed to refute the theory; why, i f c a l c i n a t i o n i s the release of phlogiston, do calces weigh more then the o r i g i n a l m e t a l s ? " 4 1 1 We might t r y to solve the f i r s t of these problems by adding a u x i l i a r y conditions or hypotheses. Thus, i t was argued that phlogiston "must be c a r r i e d away from a combustible by the a i r , and a given volume of a i r can only absorb a c e r t a i n amount of i t " 4 1 2 i n order to explain the observed facts that "nothing w i l l burn i n a vacuum, and combustion soon ceases i n a confined s p a c e . " 4 1 3 The problem of why the volume of a i r i s reduced a f t e r absorbing phlogiston could be resolved by assuming that " a i r saturated with phlogiston ('phlogisticated air ' ) takes up less room than ordinary a i r (just as cotton-wool saturated with water takes up less room than ordinary c o t t o n - w o o l ) . " 4 1 4 However, the weight gain i n the formation of a metal calx s t i l l proved to be a problem for the theory that phlogiston i s given o f f during c a l c i n a t i o n . But again, as an example of the Duhem thesis, phlogiston theory alone "does not e n t a i l that c a l c i n a t i o n w i l l lead to a weight l o s s . . . . 411 412 413 414 Musgrave, "Why Did Oxygen Supplant Phlogiston?" 188. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. 140 To derive such a prediction we need the following additional premise: phlogiston has weight, nothing weighty i s added to the metal as i t calcinates, and i f something weighty i s removed i n the process, and nothing weighty added, then the r e s u l t w i l l weigh less than the o r i g i n a l . " 4 1 5 I t i s c l e a r that the "observed weight increase contradicts the conjunction of phlogiston theory with these additional p r e m i s s e s . " 4 1 6 Lavoisier solved t h i s problem by r e j e c t i n g the phlogiston theory, but t h i s was not the only option open to s c i e n t i s t s . As we have already mentioned one solut i o n to the problem was to give phlogiston a negative weight, although few serious s c i e n t i s t s found t h i s a desirable option to choose. Another means of solving the puzzle was to suggest as Boyle had i n 1673 "that the weight of calxes was augmented by ' f i r e p a r t i c l e s ' " 4 1 7 that were somehow absorbed into the 'pores' of the calx while i t was lo s i n g phlogiston. As early as 1630 Rey had proposed that the increase i n weight "comes from the a i r , which i n a vessel has been rendered denser, heavier, and i n some measure adhesive, by the vehement and long continued heat of the furnace: which a i r mixes with the c a l x , " 4 1 8 j u s t as sand becomes heavier on absorbing water. According to P r i e s t l e y , t h i s r o l e could be played by the 'phlogisticated' or 'fixed' a i r formed during c a l c i n a t i o n . 4 1 5 I b i d . 4 1 6 I b i d . 4 1 7 I b i d . , 189 4 1 8 I b i d . 141 However, i n 1772 Lavoisier considered i t u n l i k e l y that i n c a l c i n a t i o n "the ' f i x i n g ' of a quantity of a i r i s to explain both the burning and the weight i n c r e a s e " 4 1 9 and furthermore, c a r r i e d out additional experiments that would seem to make i t more and more d i f f i c u l t to account f o r the weight gain of the calx by some type of augmentation from the outside. For example, he tested "his theory . . . against Boyle's theory, which had been adopted by some phl o g i s t o n i s t s . On Boyle's theory, i f a metal i s calcinated i n a closed container the weight increase comes from outside the container- on Lavoisier's, i t comes from inside the c o n t a i n e r . " 4 2 0 However, unlike Lavoisier, Boyle "had not weighed the entire container and i t s contents before and a f t e r the c a l c i n a t i o n , but only the metal and the c a l x . " 4 2 1 According to Musgrave, Lavoisier had discovered that there was "no o v e r a l l weight increase: what augments the calx must come from inside the container. This was a success for Lavoisier, and a defeat for one version of p h l o g i s t o n i s m . " 4 2 2 One other c r i t e r i o n of a p l a u s i b l e hypothesis i s the p r e c i s i o n with which key terms or concepts are defined. However, i n order to "preserve i t s [ the phlogiston theory's] coherence, phlogiston has been rendered a vague concept, one which cannot s a t i s f y the s t r i c t demands of s c i e n t i f i c d e f i n i t i o n . 1 , 4 2 3 For example, one of the problems for the 4 1 9 I b i d . , 191. 4 2 0 I b i d . 4 2 1 I b i d . , 191. 4 2 2 I b i d . , 191-192. 4 2 3 G a l e , Theory of Science. 250. 142 phlogiston theory was that the concept of 'phlogiston' i t s e l f was not p r e c i s e l y defined, and was even given contradictory properties i n order to make adjustments for the f a i l u r e of the theory. The vagueness of i t s d e f i n i t i o n , which allowed phlogiston to be given contradictory properties, made the phlogiston theory ' l o g i c a l l y inconsistent,' which ultimately counted against i t s being coherent. In other words, "a fundamental and mortal s i n against the p r i n c i p l e of coherence" 4 2 4 i s that: "Chemists have made a vague p r i n c i p l e of phlogiston which i s not s t r i c t l y defined, and which i n consequence accommodates i t s e l f to every explanation into which i t i s pressed. Sometimes t h i s p r i n c i p l e i s heavy and sometimes i t i s not; sometimes i t i s free f i r e and sometimes i t i s combined with the earthy elements; sometimes i t passes through the pores of vessels, sometimes they are impenetrable to i t . . . It explains at once c a u s t i c i t y and non-causticity, transparency and opacity, color and the absence of color. I t i s a v e r i t a b l e Proteus which changes i t s form every minute." One of Lavoisier's main points i n h i s 1783 memoir i s that "phlogiston apparently has contradictory properties, e.g., weight and no weight. That i s , phlogiston i s ' (Wp. - Wp) . ' Second, not i n i t s e l f but as an explanatory concept, phlogiston implies - i . e . , produces - contradictory properties i n observable substances i t i s involved w i t h . " 4 2 4 2 4 I b i d . 4 2 5 A n t o i n e L. Lavoisier, "Reflections on Phlogiston, Serving to Develop the Theories of Combustion and Calc i n a t i o n , " i n Oeuvres de Lavoisier. Tome I I . Memoires de  Chimie et de Physique. 1862, 640, c i t e d by Musgrave, "Why Did Oxygen Supplant Phlogiston?" 203. 4 2 6 G a l e , Theory of Science, 250-251. 143 In some cases contradictory properties (such as anomalies) can lead to a search for an explanation which i n time may allow the contradictory properties to be reconciled. When t h i s does not prove to be possible i t becomes necessary to abandon the theory e n t i r e l y unless an appropriate r e v i s i o n can bring i t into agreement with, the apparently contradictory observations. Thus, i n h i s argument Lavoisier i s u t i l i z i n g "a t r i e d and true rule of modern philosophy and l o g i c of science that i f a concept explains i n the same way both a property and i t s opposite, then the concept i s unacceptable." 4 2 7 These considerations indicate that p r e c i s i o n i s indeed an important external standard of science. Precision also "conduces to the p l a u s i b i l i t y of a hypothesis. I t does so i n an i n d i r e c t fashion. The more precise a hypothesis i s , the more strongly i t i s confirmed by each successful p r e d i c t i o n that i t generates. This i s because of the r e l a t i v e improbability of c o i n c i d e n c e s . " 4 2 8 In r e l a t i o n to Lavoisier's oxygen theory, h i s continued r e l i a n c e on the balance i n his chemical experiments added pr e c i s i o n to h i s theory's predictions and to h i s experimental r e s u l t s that f a r outstripped the pr e c i s i o n of the phlogiston theory's predictions and experimental r e s u l t s . This i s because p r e c i s i o n "comes mainly with the measuring of 42 9 q u a n t i t i e s " and since Lavoisier was able to predict and 427 428 429 Ibid., 251. Quine, Web of B e l i e f , 98. Ibid., 99. 144 account f o r a l l the weights, volumes etc., of the various substances both before and a f t e r a chemical reaction he gained a p r e c i s i o n that was unequalled by advocates of the phlogiston theory. In h i s rebuttal to Siegel's c r i t i c i s m , Doppelt has argued that good reasons "can be brought to bear on the d i f f e r e n t standards i n t e r n a l to r i v a l paradigms because the exponents of each paradigm recognize that c e r t a i n problem-solving capacities i t lacks accrue to the other only i f the l a t t e r ' s standards are embraced." 4 3 0 In support of t h i s view, Doppelt asserts that i f "the pre-Daltonian can see that i f he embraced the standards of the new Daltonian chemistry, c e r t a i n achievements r e s u l t which are lacking i n h i s own research program. . . . These achievements constitute good reasons f o r accepting the standards i m p l i c i t i n the new quantitative model of c h e m i s t r y . " 4 3 1 However, even a f t e r acknowledging the problem-solution successes of i t s r i v a l paradigm, the new paradigm's acknowledged successes "need not be r a t i o n a l l y compelling to the pre-Daltonian, because the d i f f e r e n t achievements made possible by h i s (pre-Daltonian) standards of chemical theory count as more important (better, more compelling reasons) then the Daltonian achievements r e l a t i v e to h i s s t a n d a r d s . " 4 3 2 However, i t can be argued that the forgoing argument f a i l s to be convincing because both phlogistonists and t h e i r 430 431 432 Doppelt, "Reply to Siegel, 121. Ibid. Ibid. 145 adversaries were interested i n e s s e n t i a l l y the same major problems, such as the mechanisms responsible for combustion c a l c i n a t i o n and r e s p i r a t i o n . To the extent that the new chemistry did tackle other problems there were good and compelling reasons to expect that the soluti o n of these problems would provide a deeper understanding of chemical properties and processes. One may admit that the oxygen theory could not immediately account for important properties of metals, such as why they were shiny. However, i t can be argued that metals have many properties i n common as well as being shiny, l i k e t h e i r a b i l i t y to conduct e l e c t r i c i t y , and to react with acids to release hydrogen as well as being malleable. I t would be strange i f a l l these properties could be explained by the common possession of some hypothetical substance which to t h i s point i t had not yet been possible to i d e n t i f y and i s o l a t e . In time through advances i n both physics and chemistry i t became possible to provide good explanations for a l l of these as well as other properties of metals. Thus, i n the long-run chemistry can be shown to have recouped any temporary losses i t had suffered i n the early going. I t also i s important to discuss the nature of confirmation and ref u t a t i o n and the c r u c i a l r o l e that external standards play i n determining j u s t how hypotheses are confirmed or refuted. In the f i r s t instance, "no matter how much data we have there w i l l s t i l l be many mutually 146 incompatible hypotheses each of which implies those d a t a . " 4 3 3 Thus i t i s cl e a r that what "confirms one hypothesis w i l l confirm many; the data are good for a whole sheaf of hypotheses and not ju s t o n e." 4 3 4 In general without some further c r i t e r i a of theory choice, theories or hypotheses are under-determined by the data or evidence found i n t h e i r support. We must keep i n mind that a hypothesis doesn't imply anything by i t s e l f , but "what does the implying i s the whole relevant theory taken together, as newly revised by the adoption of the hypothesis i n q u e s t i o n . " 4 3 5 Furthermore, i n general, a hypothesis makes 'conditional predictions,' which means that c e r t a i n i n i t i a l conditions or a u x i l i a r y hypotheses must be s a t i s f i e d before the predicted events can be expected to occur. However, when predictions "come out r i g h t . . . we gain confirmatory evidence for our hypothesis. When they come out wrong, we go back and tin k e r with our hypothesis to make i t b e t t e r . " 4 3 6 As we have already mentioned, to use various types of • ad hoc * and ' post hoc' hypotheses i n order to save a hypothesis or theory i s a questionable p r a c t i c e as i t severely l i m i t s the ev i d e n t i a l warrant for the theory's j u s t i f i e d acceptance. In addition, we also have stressed the view that the p r e d i c t a b i l i t y of future events or observations, which would be u n l i k e l y to happen i f the 4 3 3 Q u i n e , Web of B e l i e f . 97. 4 3 4 I b i d . 4 3 5 I b i d . , 80. 4 3 6 I b i d . , 81. 147 hypothesis was incorrect, i s a key factor i n determining the epistemological warrant for acceptance of a p a r t i c u l a r theory. When a theory or hypothesis i s unable to make such predictions, i t loses any chance of being supported. Moreover, a hypothesis that i s only based on a single experiment provides "very l i t t l e confirmation f o r the hypothesis; further t e s t s , i n varied circumstances, would e i t h e r have brought added confirmation or shown the hypothesis to be mistaken." 4 3 7 We also have pointed out the importance of external coherence as an important factor for deciding between theories. Thus, another external standard f o r determining the degree of e v i d e n t i a l warrant i n favour of a p a r t i c u l a r theory i s that post ad hoc explanations are not as good as p r e d i c t i o n s . 4 3 8 Even i f we grant that the phlogiston theory may have been able to accommodate the same facts as the oxygen theory we s t i l l would have good reason to prefer the oxygen theory over the phlogiston theory as the oxygen theory was p r e d i c t i n g new facts before they were discovered, while the phlogiston theory was merely 'post hoc* i n t r y i n g to accommodate these new observations within i t s theory. Furthermore, the oxygen theory was progressive i n that i t was possible to produce successful predictions even though some revisio n s i n the theory were necessary, whereas the phlogiston theory became unable to make successful 4 3 7 I b i d . , 97. * J OSee Musgrave, "Why Did Oxygen Supplant Phlogiston?" 204. 148 predictions and became les s and l e s s able to accommodate new facts while remaining consistent. The more revisions that were made, the more complex and unwieldy the phlogiston theory became. We are now i n a p o s i t i o n to conclude that there are good reasons for p r e f e r r i n g one theory over another, even when both accommodate the same facts. E v i d e n t i a l warrant can involve more than j u s t being able to accommodate facts, and gives us a v a l i d c r i t e r i o n for deciding between empirically adequate theories. We have seen that the development of improved quantitative methods played a key r o l e i n the discovery of oxygen as well as the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of other gases. I t has been claimed that the overthrow of the phlogiston theory was accompanied by a transfer of allegiance from q u a l i t a t i v e to quantitative standards of explanatory adequacy. This s h i f t i n i n t e r n a l standards has been held to be responsible for the incommensurability of the phlogiston and oxygen theories. I t i s true that one of Lavoisier's major contributions was h i s stress on "increased reliance on quantitative procedures. What was important here was not the mere tabulation of weights and measures. . . but rather use of measure for constructive purposes, to arouse or to answer q u e s t i o n s . " 4 3 9 What was equally important was that rigorous quantitative methods "were only useful i n proportion as they brought about a sharper juxtaposition of fact and t h e o r y . " 4 4 0 4 3 9 H a l l , The S c i e n t i f i c Revolution. 339 4 4 0 I b i d . 149 However, to understand Lavoisier's c r u c i a l contribution to chemistry and the chemical revolution involves more than simply t r y i n g to j u s t i f y the claim that suddenly quantitative standards became important i n analyzing chemical phenomena. The e s s e n t i a l reason that quantitative standards became important was that Lavoisier was able to show that what had once been i d e n t i f i e d as a compound (a metal) was simpler i n composition (and l a t e r came to be recognized as a chemical element) and v i c e versa, and to show that common a i r which had been regarded as elemental was i n f a c t a mixture of gases (see page 97-98 i n section II) . Furthermore, he went on to show that there were more elements than previously believed. Thus, i t was the experimental evidence that promoted adherence to the quantitative c r i t e r i o n for studying chemistry. By means of the methodology of the balance Lavoisier was i n time able to produce a v a r i e t y of observations which did much to j u s t i f y the d e s i r a b i l i t y of being able to quantify chemical reactions as an important i n t e r n a l standard for understanding t h e i r underlying mechanisms as well as explaining the weight gain anomaly concerning the processes taking place i n combustion. I t can be argued that one of the "basic features of observation i s measurement. Modern science simply did not e x i s t u n t i l man learned to measure p r e c i s e l y such quantities as distance, volume, weight, temperature, and t i m e . " 4 4 1 4 4 1 F r e d C. Hess, Chemistry Made Simple (London: W.H. A l l e n , 1955): 3. 150 Moreover, "measuring these quantities not only enabled s c i e n t i s t s to gather quantitative data, but i t also permitted the use of mathematical ideas i n getting r e a l meaning from t h e i r o b s e r v a t i o n s . " 4 4 2 Thus, for "chemistry the invention of the balance was a c r i t i c a l development. With i t , the most fundamental fa c t about chemistry yet uncovered could be demonstrated, namely, that a l l changes i n Nature from one form to another take place on a d e f i n i t e weight basis. U n t i l t h i s was shown, there simply was no science of c h e m i s t r y . " 4 4 3 However, i t would be a mistake to maintain that the only factor that heralded the chemical revolution was Lavoisier's a b i l i t y to resolve the weight gain anomaly, or that suddenly viewed from Lavoisier's perspective, phlogiston's problem concerning weight gain was abruptly seen f o r the f i r s t time as a serious anomaly for the phlogiston theory. I t was the p a r t i c u l a r accomplishments of Lavoisier's use of the balance and the r e s u l t s i t produced that f i n a l l y showed that the phlogiston theory had to be wrong, and t h i s fact was p r i m a r i l y responsible for i n i t i a t i n g the revolution i n chemistry. What produced the chemical revolution was not simply the new paradigm's being able to provide a solution to the weight gain problem, but the fact that Lavoisier's new system of chemistry could produce r e s u l t s that could no longer be explained or accounted for by phlogiston chemistry. 4 4 2 I b i d . 4 4 3 I b i d . , 3-4. 151 On the other hand, Lavoisier's growing experimental output was i n time explainable by means of the new chemistry. Let us review Lavoisier's use of the balance and c a r e f u l l y examine what else Lavoisier was able to accomplish through i t s use. His experiments on the decomposition of the oxide of mercury played a key ro l e i n the development of h i s ideas. The properties of mercury oxide were unusual i n the sense that at low temperatures mercury w i l l oxidize (be combined with oxygen), but at higher temperatures i t w i l l give up i t s oxygen. Decomposition of Oxide. 2HgO heated 2Hg + 0 2 Oxide of very hot Mercury Plus Oxygen Mercury —> metal Gas Yields He could also compare the r e s u l t s of heating mercury oxide with those of other metals where the presence of carbon was necessary i n order for the metal oxide to give up i t s oxygen which then combined with the carbon to produce 'fixed a i r ' or carbon dioxide. In addition, Lavoisier paid attention to the q u a l i t i e s of the gases that were produced when heating a metal or i t s calx, both with and without the presence of carbon. But he also was ca r e f u l to measure the weight of the substances he started with as well as the weights of the various by-products, such as the metal, calx and/or the gases that were produced. I t was by means of these experimental procedures that Lavoisier was able to unravel the puzzle of chemical combination and to r e a l i z e that chemistry could not 152 be adequately understood i n terms of the o r i g i n a l four basic elements, f i r e , earth, water, and a i r . Moreover, he was able to f u l f i l l h i s standard for an adequate chemical explanation by showing that he could both create an i d e n t i f i a b l e product from i t s chemical components, and then decompose i t into i t s elements. Let us take a closer look at these r e s u l t s . For example, "Lavoisier, i n a series of experiments with red calx, had been extremely c a r e f u l to account f o r a l l the weights of the substances involved. Moreover, he had run the smelting both with charcoal and without charcoal, and i n each case accounted for the weights of a l l substances before and a f t e r the i n t e r a c t i o n . 1 , 4 4 4 In the f i r s t instance Lavoisier performed the experiment "using charcoal. The r e s u l t s are exactly as conceived i n phlogiston theory: The calx and charcoal were e n t i r e l y consumed leaving only m e t a l l i c mercury and fi x e d a i r i n the f i n a l product. The beginning weights and the ending weights were exactly i d e n t i c a l . " 4 4 5 (Although heat had been added no one had succeeding i n showing that heat alone could contribute weight to any components of a chemical reaction). However, Lavoisier did not stop here, but he "proposed that the fixed a i r was not a simple element; rather, he said, l e t us conceive that f i x e d a i r i s a compound of charcoal plus one of the substances that compose the c a l x . " 4 4 6 I t should be c l e a r that Lavoisier's hypothesis i s 444 445 446 Gale, Theory of Science. 245. Ibid. Ibid. 153 " i n complete and absolute contradiction to the phlogiston t h e o r y . " 4 4 7 The reason for t h i s i s that counter to the phlogiston theory "Lavoisier was i n f a c t proposing that the calx was not a simple element, but rather was compound i n nature - an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n j u s t the exact opposite of the 448 phlogiston conception." He further reasoned that " i f the calx was a compound, then the mercury metal was a simple element" 4 4 9 (or at l e a s t was simpler than the c a l x ) . And he drew the conclusion that "the reaction was not a combination reaction between the calx and phlogiston, but a c t u a l l y was a d i s s o c i a t i o n reaction i n which some underlying substance was stripped away from the c a l x . " 4 5 0 Lavoisier's conclusion was based on a further experiment i n which he d i d the same thing except t h i s time he did not add any charcoal, but heated the mercury oxide to a high temperature, whereupon he "then weighed the r e s u l t i n g metal and gas. The weights added up n e a t l y . " 4 5 1 The s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h i s r e s u l t i s "that nothing, no mass, was added to the reactants during the experiment." Furthermore, "although phlogiston theory predicts that phlogiston i s added to the calx i n order to smelt i t to the metal, Lavoisier's r e s u l t s indicate that the metal weighs les s than the calx (which implies that phlogiston has a 4 4 7 I b i d . 4 4 8 I b i d . 4 4 9 I b i d . 4 5 0 I b i d . 4 5 1 I b i d . 4 5 2 I b i d . , 246. 154 negative weight), and most importantly, that the weight l o s t by the calx i s j u s t exactly i d e n t i c a l to the weight of the residual g a s . " 4 5 3 As "the f i n a l c lincher, the gas which i s evolved i n the smelting done without charcoal i s most d e f i n i t e l y not f i x e d a i r . . . . He showed that the gas would support combustion, i t would support animal r e s p i r a t i o n , i t did not turn limewater cloudy, i t was insoluble i n water, e t c . " 4 5 4 These kinds of observations were responsible for Lavoisier's eventual attack on the phlogiston theory. In the f i r s t place, Lavoisier points out that chemists "have made phlogiston a vague p r i n c i p l e , which i s not s t r i c t l y defined and which subsequently f i t s a l l the explanation demanded of i t . " 4 5 5 Thus, "phlogiston does provide the coherence 'demanded of i t ' i n explanation of a l l the relevant observational phenomena; but at what c o s t ? " 4 5 6 Finding t h i s cost too great, Lavoisier d i r e c t l y attacked the existence of phlogiston "and h i s attack i s based upon the l o g i c of coherence." 4 5 7 Lavoisier wrote that: My only object i n t h i s memoir i s to extend the theory of combustion that I announced i n 1777; to show that Stahl's phlogiston i s imaginary and i t s existence i n the metals, sulphur, phosphorus, and a l l combustible bodies, a baseless supposition, and that a l l the facts of combustion and c a l c i n a t i o n are explained i n 4 5 3 I b i d . 4 5 4 I b i d . 4 5 5 A n t o i n e Lavoisier, "Reflections on Phlogiston," A Memoir to the French Academy (1783) quoted by Gale, Theory of  Science, 250, who c i t e d Douglas McKie Antoine Lavoisier (New York: C o l l i e r Books, 1962): 110-112. 4 5 6 G a l e , Theory of Science, 250. 4 5 7 I b i d . , 251. 155 a much simpler and much easier way without phlogiston than with i t . 4 5 8 Thus we can summarize the main thrust of Lavoisier's argument. He poses two premises (P.l and P.2) and then draws a conclusion (C), as follows: P.l ' A l l the facts of combustion and c a l c i n a t i o n are explained i n oxygen theory, without use of the phlogiston concept. P.2 'The oxygen explanation i s simpler . . .[than the phlogiston theory] . . . (and 'much easier,' which perhaps means more ' e f f i c i e n t ' or more 'elegant,' although I am not sure what i t means).' C. 'Phlogiston i s imaginary, i t s existence i s a baseless supposition.' 4 I t appears that Lavoisier i s arguing against the existence of phlogiston from " l o g i c a l d e f i c i e n c i e s i n the concept to nonexistence of the substance named i n the c o n c e p t . " 4 6 0 Thus between 1777 and 1783 Lavoisier endeavored to "explain the well-known facts using no reference to phlogiston, but only h i s concept of 'eminently respirable a i r ' (ERA). He also developed new facts, p a r t i c u l a r l y quantitative measurements of a d e l i c a t e order of accuracy. Needless to say, h i s attempts were s u c c e s s f u l . " 4 6 1 For example, r e c a l l that Lavoisier conducted experiments i n which he would heat a metal i n a closed vessel with a measured amount of 'common a i r ' u n t i l a metal calx was formed. At t h i s stage both the calx and the 4 5 8 I b i d . 4 6 ? I b i d ' 6 1 I b i d . , 252. 156 remaining gas i n the vessel were weighed. He found that the calx had "gained an amount of mass i d e n t i c a l to the amount l o s t by the common a i r . Moreover, the common a i r i s no longer common a i r ; i t w i l l not support combustion or r e s p i r a t i o n , nor does i t pass the goodness t e s t . " 4 6 2 He also, "comes to c a l l t h i s residual a i r - the remainder from common a i r a f t e r i t s 'eminently respirable' part has been removed - moffet, which means 'an asphyxiating g a s . ' " 4 6 3 L a v o i s i e r produced the following equation f o r c a l c i n a t i o n , "Metal + ERA —> metal c a l x . " 4 6 4 I t should be noted that t h i s equation expresses a chemical process that i s exactly opposite to the phlogiston theory. In addition, "thinking of the ERA as a discrete, independent physical object which can move about during the reaction now further allows Lavoisier to come to a notion about the smelting, both with and without the addition of c h a r c o a l . " 4 6 5 Thus i n the case of 'simple smelting' the reaction would be as follows:" Metal calx —> metal + ERA." 4 6 6 However, when the smelting i s done with the addition of charcoal, "the reaction produces fixed a i r -which Lavoisier now conceives as being a compound produced by movement of the ERA from i t s location i n the calx into some sort of union with the parts of the charcoal. The reaction i s f a i r l y straightforward. I f Fixed a i r = charcoal + ERA 4 6 2 I b i d . 4 6 3 I b i d . 4 6 4 I b i d . 4 6 6 I b i d ' 6 I b i d . 157 . . . then, normal smelting . . . Metal calx + charcoal —> metal + fi x e d a i r . " 4 6 7 Furthermore, Lavoisier was able to account f o r a l l the parts involved i n the chemical reaction and "most importantly . . . he can also account for a l l the weights. Indeed, he can use the i n i t i a l weights of the reactants on the l e f t side of the > sign to predict the weights of the reactants on the r i g h t s i d e . " 4 6 8 And an important consideration of the s u p e r i o r i t y of Lavoisier's oxygen theory over the phlogiston theory i s that the oxygen theory has the a b i l i t y to predict precise amounts which i s "highly s i g n i f i c a n t when compared to phlogiston theory, which can do nothing s i m i l a r . " 4 6 9 Thus, the oxygen theory was shown to f u l l y s a t i s f y the c r i t e r i o n of p r e c i s i o n as well as that of i n t e r n a l consistency, without the vagueness of concept which we have seen was c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the various versions of the phlogiston theory. Another important aspect of p r e c i s i o n i s that i t can be increased by the r e d e f i n i t i o n of terms. ' In other words, we "take a term that i s fuzzy and imprecise and t r y to sharpen i t s sense without impairing i t s u s e f u l n e s s . " 4 7 1 As we have already mentioned, phlogiston was a very vague concept that was so e l a s t i c that i t seemed to f i t whatever 467 Ibid 252-253. 468 469 Ibid. Ibid. 253 . 470 471 Quine, Web of B e l i e f , 99. Ibid., 99-100. 158 r o l e i t was required to play and at d i f f e r e n t times contradictory properties were attr i b u t e d to the term. Although, Lavoisier did not sharpen the meaning of phlogiston, but i n fact did away with the concept altogether, he was able to introduce new terms into chemistry, such as oxygen that were given a much more precise meaning, and a more l i m i t e d r o l e to play than did phlogiston. Thus, Lavoisier's chemistry contained much more precise terms than did the phlogiston theory. Lavoisier's methodology and analysis and the conclusions that he drew from them c l e a r l y implied the notion that conservation of weight was an a t t r a c t i v e p r i n c i p l e and surely contributed to the strengthening of t h i s concept. This provided an additional cogent source of support for Lavoisier's views, because the oxygen theory exhibited a degree of 'external coherence' that the phlogiston theory did not possess. The argument i n support of t h i s claim w i l l be made cle a r e r a f t e r we f i n i s h analyzing Lavoisier's experimental r e s u l t s and the subsequent conclusions he drew, but we should point out that the s u p e r i o r i t y of Lavoisier's oxygen theory i s i n part dependent upon hi s use of equations for predictions which "necessarily presupposes the p r i n c i p l e of the conservation of m a t t e r " 4 7 2 which was inherent i n Newton's concept of the r e l a t i o n between gravity, weight and mass. Before f u l l y developing t h i s point l e t us f i r s t look at h i s r e s u l t s on the process of r e s p i r a t i o n . Lavoisier 4 7 2 G a l e , Theory of Science, 253. 159 describes the process of r e s p i r a t i o n as follows: "Thus, i f Common a i r = ERA + moffet [ i . e . oxygen and nitrogen] then, Respiration: Body's f u e l + common a i r > fixe d a i r + m o f f e t " 4 7 3 L a v o i s i e r postulated that i n the process of r e s p i r a t i o n there i s something i n animal bodies which acts as f u e l , j u s t as does charcoal i n combustion. When the common a i r enters the body, the ERA become attached to the f u e l , producing the fixed a i r compound which i s then exhaled. Respiration, according to t h i s conception, uses up the ERA of common a i r , leaving fix e d a i r and moffet as residuals i n the exhalation. To back up t h i s analysis, Lavoisier returns to the calx-of-mercury reaction, and applies the very same notions i n a more det a i l e d experimental i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . 4 7 4 Let us look at the chemical equations involved i n these processes. As usual Lavoisier i s car e f u l to measure the volumes of the gases he st a r t s out with" "Mercury + common a i r > mercury calx + moffet (1 volume) (5/6 volume)" 4 7 5" He a r r i v e s at the conclusion that "the r a t i o of ERA to moffet i s about 1:5; that i s , ERA i s about one-sixth of common a i r . " 4 7 6 However, Lavoisier goes on to reverse t h i s process by "smelting calx of mercury back to i t s o r i g i n a l state of m e t a l l i c i t y . In so doing he reconstitutes the common a i r that he o r i g i n a l l y started with. The equation i s i n two stages. 4 7 3 I b i d . 4 7 4 I b i d . 4 7 5 I b i d . , 254, 4 7 6 I b i d . 160 Stage 1. Mercury calx > mercury + ERA Stage 2. ERA + moffet = common a i r 1 , 4 7 7 In the f i r s t stage of the experiment La v o i s i e r was able to separate "the ERA and me t a l l i c mercury; i n the second stage, he takes the o r i g i n a l 5/6 volume of moffet which remains a f t e r the ERA i s absorbed during c a l c i n a t i o n , adds i t to the ERA given o f f during the f i r s t stage, and produces the o r i g i n a l s t a r t i n g 1 volume of common a i r . " 4 7 8 This shows that "the ERA hypothesis can be used to render a completely consistent and coherent account of the en t i r e t y of facts surrounding c a l c i n a t i o n , combustion, and r e s p i r a t i o n . 1 , 4 7 9 Furthermore, Lavoisier i s able to account " f o r the compound nature of common a i r and provides an explanation for the evolution of fix e d a i r during both combustion and r e s p i r a t i o n . " 4 8 0 In "1779 Lavoisier coins the name 'oxygen' for h i s new gas . . . ERA takes on an independent l i f e of i t s own as a s p e c i a l l y named o b j e c t . " 4 8 1 Thus, we can draw the conclusion that there i s "no question about the l o g i c a l 482 . . . v i r t u e s of t h i s account." Lavoisier i s now i n a po s i t i o n to argue f o r "his system's l o g i c a l coherence and consistency, 4 7 7 I b i d . 4 7 8 I b i d . 4 7 9 I b i d . 4 8 0 I b i d . 4 8 1 l b i d . 4 8 2 I b i d . 161 and at the same time, attack the l o g i c a l inconsistency and lack of s i m p l i c i t y of the phlogiston t h e o r y . " 4 8 3 Thus, i n summing up of the accomplishments of Lavoisier's oxygen hypothesis, i t can be maintained that i t " c l e a r l y eliminated any thoughts about the existence of a substance with negative (or, . . . zero) w e i g h t . " 4 8 4 Lavoisier's oxygen hypothesis was a powerful force as i t was j u s t i f i e d i n part by i t s success " i n weighing oxygen quite accurately, and had traced i t s mass throughout i t s reaction. Moreover, h i s use of the balance had permitted the development of precise quantitative equations. Given these features, there i s no doubt why h i s system appealed to the p h y s i c i s t s : I t s formal quantitative s t y l e , as well as i t s substantive concepts, were squarely i n l i n e with the best physics of the d a y . " 4 8 5 Moreover, there were additional elements i n h i s system, that had strong appeal for p h y s i c i s t s and mathematicians. 4 8 6 For example, h i s "early adoption of the p r i n c i p l e of the conservation of matter f i t t e d rather n i c e l y into the numerical schemes of physics, i n which various quantities such as momentum (mv) , . . . and k i n e t i c energy (mv2) were a l l conserved e n t i t i e s . The numerical equations that he developed provided strong evidence of conservational laws, which was a new aspect of c h e m i s t r y . " 4 8 7 I t i s c l e a r that 4 8 3 I b i d . , 255. 4 8 4 I b i d . , 255-256. 4 8 5 I b i d . , 256. 4 8 7 I b i d -8 7 I b i d . 162 "Lavoisier's program was a t e l l i n g blow against the non-conservative e n t i t i e s which function i n the phlogiston system, non-conservative e n t i t i e s which p h y s i c i s t s would f i n d p o s i t i v e mass, quantitative formalism, precise numerical prediction, and conservational e n t i t i e s - were very a t t r a c t i v e to p h y s i c i s t s and mathematical s c i e n t i s t s . Thus, what we must see here i s a growing external coherence between the new chemistry and the p r e v a i l i n g p h y s i c s . " 4 8 9 Furthermore, Lavoisier and Laplace "did experiments which b u i l t further bridges between the new chemistry and the older, well-established physical paradigms. . . . a f i n a l example of the growing external coherence provided by the new h y p o t h e s i s . " 4 9 0 This experiment "concerns r e s p i r a t i o n and h e a t . " 4 9 1 The experiment was designed to "measure heat by the amount of i c e which could be melted by the hot body. Although t h i s procedure provides no absolute measure of heat, i t does give a clean, clear, r e l a t i v e value which can be used to compare two or more b o d i e s . " 4 9 2 The assumption was made that "two bodies which each melt two cubes of ice have the same amount of heat: one body which melts only one cube has only h a l f the heat of eith e r of the f i r s t ; and so o n . " 4 9 3 They placed "a guinea pig i n a chamber, and measured how much somewhat repugnant. ..488 In short, " a l l these features, 488 489 490 491 492 493 Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. 256-257. 163 i c e the animal could melt with h i s body heat over a measured period of time. They also c o l l e c t e d the fix e d a i r respired by the animal, and measured i t s volume." 4 9 4 Lavoisier had already formulated a theory of r e s p i r a t i o n where animal bodies "have a charcoal l i k e f u e l , which i s slowly combusted with the oxygen they breathe i n ; fi x e d a i r i s exhaled as a r e s u l t of the reaction. Thus, the amount of fixed a i r respired i s d i r e c t l y related to the amount of f u e l which i s burned i n the animal's body." 4 9 5 However, Lav o i s i e r goes on to make the "bold hypothesis: The heat given o f f during the slow-speed combustion i n animal r e s p i r a t i o n should be c l o s e l y r e l a t e d to the amount of heat which could be generated by burning an i d e n t i c a l weight of c h a r c o a l . " 4 9 6 We must also point out, that t h i s "new predic t i o n follows s t r i c t l y l o g i c a l l y from Lavoisier's concepts; but i t i s a completely new notion as f a r as the physics of h i s time i s concerned." 4 9 7 The main problem for Lavoisier was "to figure out how much fu e l the animal burned during the time p e r i o d . " 4 9 8 Lavoisier had already measured the "volume of exhaled a i r . So what he does now i s to burn enough charcoal to produce an amount of fixed a i r i d e n t i c a l i n volume to that exhaled by the p i g . " 4 9 9 Then the next step for Lavo i s i e r was to measure "how much charcoal was burned i n 4 9 i l b i d . , 257. 4 9 5 I b i d . 4 9 6 I b i d . 4 9 7 I b i d . 4 9 8 I b i d . 4 9 9 I b i d . 164 order to produce that volume of fixed a i r . " 5 0 0 As a f i n a l step "he takes an i d e n t i c a l amount of charcoal, burns i t , and measures how much ice i t m e l t s . " 5 0 1 L a v o i s i e r discovered that the "amount of heat produced by burning the charcoal i s exactly i d e n t i c a l to the amount produced by the p i g during r e s p i r a t i o n . " 5 0 2 By t h i s experiment, L a v o i s i e r "completes the c i r c l e and, i n so doing, makes a firm l i n k bridging pure chemical concepts such as 'fixed a i r , ' 'oxygen,' etc., and the physical concept of 'heat, * not to mention the biochemistry and physiology involved i n r e s p i r a t i o n . " 5 0 3 In conclusion we again get large amounts of external coherence. 5 0 4 Thus, by '1784', the "phlogiston theory was completely doomed; oxygen theory was assured the ascendant p o s i t i o n . " 5 0 5 5 0 0 I b i d . 5 0 1 I b i d . 5 0 2 I b i d . 5 0 3 I b i d . 5 0 4 I b i d . 5 0 5 I b i d . 165 V. Conclusions The major argument to be made against Doppelt's version of Kuhn's thesis with respect to r e l a t i v i s m and incommensurability i s that there are, indeed, external paradigm-independent standards, or v i r t u e s which constitute the c r i t e r i a for determining explanatory adequacy, and which ultimately govern the decisions made by the s c i e n t i f i c community when new theories replace t h e i r predecessors. When these c r i t e r i a are applied i t i s the cumulative weight of the evidence which ultimately determines the growing acceptance of new theories when s c i e n t i f i c revolutions take place. One caveat to keep i n mind, i s that these standards are id e a l s , which are not always completely s a t i s f i e d . However, the more a hypothesis or theory s a t i s f i e s these standards the more e v i d e n t i a l warrant there i s i n support of a p a r t i c u l a r theory or hypothesis and the wider the acceptance i t gains within the s c i e n t i f i c community. As we have seen, some in d i v i d u a l s c i e n t i s t s (such as Priestley) may c l i n g to theories a f t e r they are beset with problems and have outlived t h e i r usefulness, whereas others, (such as Lavoisier) may chose to adopt a new working hypothesis before i t has become established by a s u f f i c i e n c y of evidence because i t o f f e r s the promise of f r u i t f u l opportunities f o r exploration and advance. In t h i s sense, some short-term r e l a t i v i s m cannot be denied. However, t h i s short-term r e l a t i v i s m does not undermine a theory of s c i e n t i f i c progress that i s cumulative with respect to genuine observational data or the degree to 166 which successful theories are cumulative by v i r t u e of s a t i s f y i n g paradigm-neutral external standards governing the degree of e v i d e n t i a l warrant which supports them. Thus, there i s n o n - r e l a t i v i s t i c knowledge and cumulative s c i e n t i f i c progress. I t may be true that at an early time i n the hi s t o r y of a successful theory the evidence may be i n s u f f i c i e n t to make the choice to adopt the new paradigm r a t i o n a l or compelling. However, i f the new paradigm makes successful predictions whereas i t s r i v a l f a i l s , the new paradigm w i l l gain more and more support which i n time can become overwhelming. In addition, we characterize r a t i o n a l i t y i n terms of whether or not new paradigms and theories are adopted or accepted on the basis of t h e i r s a t i s f y i n g more and stronger external standards of e v i d e n t i a l warrant then t h e i r predecessors. We are not arguing that when Lav o i s i e r f i r s t proposed the anti-phlogiston paradigm he then had compelling reasons i n favour of h i s choice. However, i n time, reasons based on meeting neutral external standards d i d become compelling. In the f i n a l analysis i t i s e v i d e n t i a l warrant that decides the su p e r i o r i t y of one theory or hypothesis over another, thereby undermining any notion of long-term r e l a t i v i s m . During a s c i e n t i f i c revolution, i n t e r n a l standards of a s p e c i f i c paradigm may undergo change, but the a c c e p t a b i l i t y of these i n t e r n a l standards i s determined by paradigm-independent standards that, contrary to Doppelt, are not i n themselves influenced by the in t e r n a l standards of a 167 p a r t i c u l a r paradigm. Ultimately, paradigm-independent standards determine what i s to count as e v i d e n t i a l warrant for e s t a b l i s h i n g sound theory choice. In the analysis presented here i t has been argued that the phlogiston and anti-phlogiston theories were not incommensurable. In the f i r s t place there was no disagreement as to what counted as observational evidence. Instead, t h e i r disagreement was focused on the underlying causal mechanisms that were ultimately responsible for explaining these observations. I t i s i n t h i s sense that they were r i v a l s . Furthermore, independent paradigm-neutral standards provided a means by which to compare the e v i d e n t i a l warrant for each theory, undermining the case for incommensurability and allowing us to provide an adequate notion of s c i e n t i f i c , progress at le a s t i n chemistry. To the extent that the chemical revolution i s t y p i c a l of paradigm replacements, i t provides h i s t o r i c a l evidence against Kuhnian epistemological r e l a t i v i s m even i n Doppelt's weaker version of t h i s t h e s i s . 168 Bibliography Conant, James Bryant, "The Overthrow Of The Phlogiston Theory; The Chemical Revolution of 1775-1789," In Harvard Case H i s t o r i e s In Experimental Science, 1, ed. James Bryant Conant and Leonard K. Nash. Cambridge:Harvard University Press, 1950, 65-115. Crosland, Maurice. "Chemistry and The Chemical Revolution," i n The Ferment Of Knowledge: Studies In The  Historiography Of Eighteenth-Century Science, ed. G. S. Rousseau and Roy Porter. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980, 389-416. Doppelt, Gerald. "A Reply To Siegel On Kuhnian Relativism," Inguiry. 23 (Mar. 1980), 117-123. , "Laudan's Pragmatic Alternative to P o s i t i v i s t and H i s t o r i c i s t Theories of Science," Inquiry. 24 (1981) 253-71. , "Kuhn's Epistemological Relativism: An Interpretation And Defense," In Relativism: Cognitive  And Moral. ed. Jack W. Meiland and Michael Krausz. London: University Of Notre Dame Press, 1982, 109-146. , "What i s the Question Concerning the R a t i o n a l i t y of Science?" Philosophy of Science. 52 (1985), 517-537. Gale, George. The Theory Of Science: An Introduction To The  History, Logic, And Philosophy Of Science. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1979. Giere, Ronald N. Understanding S c i e n t i f i c Reasoning. 2d ed. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979. H a l l , A. Rupert. The S c i e n t i f i c Revolution: 1500-1800, The  Formation of the Modern S c i e n t i f i c Attitude. Toronto: Longmans Canada Ltd.,1962. Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of S c i e n t i f i c Revolutions. 2d ed. Chicago:The University of Chicago Press, 1970. Laudan, Larry. Progress and Its Problems: Toward a Theory of  S c i e n t i f i c Growth. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1977. McKie, Douglas. "The B i r t h Of Modern Chemistry," In The  History Of Science; Origins And Results Of The 169 S c i e n t i f i c Revolution:A Symposium. London: Cohen And West Ltd.,1951, 97-107. Moore, F.J. A History Of Chemistry. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.,1931. Musgrave, Alan. "Why Did Oxygen Theory Supplant Phlogiston? Research Programmes In The Chemical Revolution," In Method And Appraisal In The Physical Science: The  C r i t i c a l Background To Modern Science, 1800-1905. ed. C o l i n Howson New York: Cambridge University Press, 1976, 181-209. Putnam, H i l a r y . "The Corroboration of Theories," i n S c i e n t i f i c Revolutions, ed. Ian Hacking. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981. Quine, W.V. and J.S. U l l i a n . The Web of B e l i e f . 2d ed. New York: Random House, 1970. Scheff l e r , I s r a e l . Science and S u b j e c t i v i t y . 2d ed.Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company,1982. Shapere, Dudley. Reason and the Search fo r Knowledge;  Invest igat ions i n the Philosophy of Science. Boston: D. Re idel Publ i sh ing Co., 1984. Siegel, Harvey. "Epistemological Relativism i n i t s Latest Form," Incruirv. 23 (1980) 107-23. White, J.H. The History of Phlogiston. London: Edward Arnold and Co.,1932. 

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
https://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.831.1-0098744/manifest

Comment

Related Items