Foundations of Science

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 405–426 | Cite as

Pauli versus Heisenberg: A Case Study of the Heuristic Role of Philosophy

  • Henk W. de Regt


This article analyses an episode in the earlyhistory of quantum theory: the controversy betweenPauli and Heisenberg about the anomalous Zeemaneffect, which was a main stumbling block for the oldquantum theory of Bohr. It is argued that theindividual philosophical views of both Pauli andHeisenberg directed their attempts to solve theanomaly and decisively influenced the solutions theyproposed. The results of this case study arecompared with the assertions of four theories ofscientific change, namely those of Kuhn, Lakatos,Laudan and Giere.

discovery Heisenberg heuristics Pauli quantum theory 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henk W. de Regt
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for History and Foundations of ScienceUtrecht UniversityTA UtrechtThe Netherlands E-mail

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