Prismatic Equivalence – A New Case of Underdetermination: Goethe vs. Newton on the Prism Experiments

@article{Mueller2016PrismaticE,
  title={Prismatic Equivalence – A New Case of Underdetermination: Goethe vs. Newton on the Prism Experiments},
  author={Olaf L. Mueller},
  journal={British Journal for the History of Philosophy},
  year={2016},
  volume={24},
  pages={323 - 347}
}
  • Olaf L. Mueller
  • Published 16 February 2016
  • Education
  • British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Goethe's objections to Newton's theory of light and colours are better than often acknowledged. You can accept the most important elements of these objections without disagreeing with Newton about light and colours. As I will argue, Goethe exposed a crucial weakness of Newton's methodological self-assessment. Newton believed that with the help of his prism experiments, he could prove that sunlight was composed of variously coloured rays of light. Goethe showed that this step from observation to… 

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