International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy

Series | Book | Chapter


The optimistic meta-induction and ontological continuity

the case of the electron

Robert Nola

pp. 159-202


The pessimistic meta-induction attempts to make a case for the lack of ontological continuity with theory change; in contrast, its rival the optimistic meta-induction makes a case for considerable ontological continuity. The optimistic meta-induction is argued for in the case of the origin, and continuity, of our talk of electrons (even though the term "electron" was not initially used). The case is made by setting the history of identifying reference to electrons in the context of a generalised version of Russell's theory of descriptions, Ramsey's theory of theoretical terms and a development of these ideas by David Lewis.

Publication details

Published in:

Soler Léna, Sankey Howard, Hoyningen-Huene Paul (2008) Rethinking scientific change and theory comparison: stabilities, ruptures, incommensurabilities?. Dordrecht, Springer.

Pages: 159-202

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-6279-7_12

Full citation:

Nola Robert (2008) „The optimistic meta-induction and ontological continuity: the case of the electron“, In: L. Soler, H. Sankey & P. Hoyningen-Huene (eds.), Rethinking scientific change and theory comparison, Dordrecht, Springer, 159–202.