Paper 3

Part of Chapter 4 in:

Collins, H. M., (1985) Changing Order: Replication and Induction in Scientific Practice, Beverley Hills & London: Sage. [Second Edition, with a new Afterword, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992]


Drawing of stick figure with speech bubble attempting an experiment.

Calibration of resonant bars with electrostatic pulses need not have resolved the experimenter’s regress. This is because one could argue about whether the surrogate force mimics GW. Weber could have supported his case longer if he had refused to accept the value of electrostatic calibration. [Had the argument been made, he could also have refused to accept both the early gravitationally-coupled Sinsky calibration and the rotating dumbells constructed by Aplin and the Frascati group because both were near-field, dynamic Cavendish effects. Interestingly, Weber’s 1984 theory also seems to rule out such effects as calibration surrogates for gravitational waves.]THIS CHAPTER ALSO SUMMARISES EVERYTHING PUBLISHED OUT OF THE 1972-76 FIELDWORK For a criticism of the work discussed in this chapter see Alan Franklin, `How to Avoid the Experimenter’s Regress’Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science, 25, 3, 463-491; for a response see Collins, H. M., (1994) `A Strong Test of the Experimenters’ Regress’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 25, 3, 493-503.

Franklin appears to think that I argue that Weber’s critics behaved irrationally and that replication is impossible. I argue neither.

Unfortunately, Franklin’s piece has been republished without any discussion of the response in a Science Wars volume edited by Noretta Koertge. Though certain methodological claims have been dropped, Franklin’s major theses are unchanged in the reprinted version.

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