By Michela Massimi
There's infrequently one other precept in physics with wider scope of applicability and extra far-reaching outcomes than Pauli's exclusion precept. This booklet explores the principle's starting place within the atomic spectroscopy of the early Twenties, its next embedding into quantum mechanics, and later experimental validation with the advance of quantum chromodynamics. Reconstruction of the the most important old episode presents an exceptional foil to think again Kuhn's view on incommensurability. the diversity of subject matters skillfully interwoven will attract philosophers, historians, scientists and a person attracted to philosophy.
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Additional resources for Pauli's exclusion principle: the origin and validation of a scientific principle
51 Kant’s regulative principle of systematicity, as a necessary condition for identifying empirical regularities as lawlike, finds its natural expression in Cassirer’s architectonic of scientific knowledge. Results of measurement and scientific principles occupy the two complementary poles of this architectonic. The former provide the empirical basis. The latter fulfil the regulative task of systematizing and conferring an order on the empirical manifold, as an integral and indispensable part of empirical knowledge itself.
It was only when the rule was transplanted from the original spectroscopic context onto the domain of the rising quantum mechanics that Pauli Verbot acquired a new significance. It became the manifestation of the antisymmetric character of the state function of an assembly of indistinguishable particles. The ‘prohibition rule’ became the exclusion principle. In his pioneering 1926 contribution, Dirac referred to it as Pauli’s exclusion principle; and it was more than a terminological baptism. It was indeed the reformulation in terms of Fermi–Dirac statistics that allowed Pauli’s rule to transcend its humble origins in atomic spectroscopy and extend its range of nomological applicability.
Non-Euclidean geometries and Einstein’s relativity taking over Newtonian mechanics seriously challenged the Kantian a priori character of scientific knowledge. As became evident, no system of scientific knowledge is fixed once and for all, or immune to revision. Philosophers drew their conclusions. Poincare´’s conclusion was conventionalism. Hans Reichenbach’s conclusion was that the notion of a priori needed to be reconsidered in such a way that a Kantian kernel could be retained without the allure of non-revisability.