That’s So Second Millennium

Episode 007 - Falsifiability and Scientific Revolutions

May 14, 2018

Science’s origins in “natural philosophy”

Tension between Aristo-Thomist metaphysics, post-Cartesian idealism and Kantian/Humian criticism and etc., and science

Philosophy of science: what is it?

My own introduction: Popper and falsification key, Kuhn and the sociology of science revolutions / paradigm shifts

Tendency to exaggerate contrasts and play down common elements between them


Quantum foundations, classic experiments leading to quantum physics, wave-particle, uncertainty principle – falsifying classical physics, bringing about a new paradigm

Existing paradigms of classical physics & chemistry:

Light is definitely a wave phenomenon, period. It displays diffraction / interference effects that only make sense for waves, not little shooting corpuscules a la Newton

The electrons (protons and neutrons not being discovered yet) are particles with a given mass, location, charge, velocity.

Classical failures of light

Why do hot objects give off light, or rather, how? Classical physics applied to this problem winds up with a completely unworkable “ultraviolet catastrophe” where all objects at all temperatures have a frequency – intensity curve that shoots off to infinity.

Why do photoelectric materials only shed electrons once light of high enough frequency hits it? That makes no sense; it should be the brightness / intensity of the light that matters, right?