Dynamical versus structural explanations in scientific revolutions

Synthese 194 (7):2307-2327 (2017)
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By briefly reviewing three well-known scientific revolutions in fundamental physics (the discovery of inertia, of special relativity and of general relativity), I claim that problems that were supposed to be crying for a dynamical explanation in the old paradigm ended up receiving a structural explanation in the new one. This claim is meant to give more substance to Kuhn’s view that revolutions are accompanied by a shift in what needs to be explained, while suggesting at the same time the existence of a pattern that is common to all of the discussed case-studies. It remains to be seen whether also quantum mechanics, in particular entanglement, conforms to this pattern
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Making Things Happen.Woodward, James

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