Publication detailsSaatsi, J & Vickers, P (2011). Miraculous Success? Inconsistency and Untruth in Kirchhoff's Diffraction Theory. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62(1): 29-46.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 0007-0882, 1464-3537
- DOI: 10.1093/bjps/axq008
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
Author(s) from Durham
Kirchhoff’s diffraction theory is introduced as a new case study in the realism debate. The theory is extremely successful despite being both inconsistent and not even approximately true. Some habitual realist proclamations simply cannot be maintained in the face of Kirchhoff’s theory, as the realist is forced to acknowledge that theoretical success can in some circumstances be explained in terms other than truth. The idiosyncrasy (or otherwise) of Kirchhoff’s case is considered.