Comparisons of Explanatory Power

  • Xiang Chen
Part of the Science and Philosophy book series (SCPH, volume 9)


After Newton’s endorsement in the late seventeenth century, the particle theory of light dominated the field of optics in Britain for more than a hundred years. Throughout the eighteenth century, optical researches in Britain were conducted within the particle framework, and considerable progress was made during this period (Steffens 1977; Cantor 1983; Pav 1964). Partially because of Newton’s support, and partially because of its explanatory successes, the dominance of the particle theory in Britain lasted well into the first quarter of the nineteenth century. But this dominance of the particle theory became shaky when John Herschel in 1827 circulated in the optical community an essay that offered a systematic review of the wave theory of light and argued for its superiority. In this way, the showdown between the particle theory and the wave theory began.


Explanatory Power Wave Theory Selective Absorption Particle Theory Optical Phenomenon 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiang Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.California Lutheran UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations