In a case study, the mechanism of decomposition of diazonium ions in solution is discussed; the reasonable mechanism brought forward in 1940 was not refuted until 1973, in spite of experimental results published in 1952 that were not consistent with the proposed mechanism. A new mechanistic hypothesis, mentioned in the literature in 1973, was in contradiction to the paradigm that nitrogen molecules do not react with organic reagents in solution. After a psychologically explainable crisis the new hypothesis was tested experimentally and the paradigm mentioned was falsified for this case. In the analysis it is shown that Pop-perian logic was commingled with Kuhn’s cycle of normal science, crisis, and revolution, as well as with a psychological barrier. Joint investigations of modern problems by chemists and philosophers of science are encouraged because they may elucidate how progress in scientific discoveries takes place at the present time.
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December 01 1997
Logic and Psychology of Scientific Discoveries: A Case Study in Contemporary Chemistry
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule
Online Issn: 1530-9274
Print Issn: 1063-6145
©1999 by The University of Chicago. All reserved.
The University of Chicago. All reserved.
Perspectives on Science (1997) 5 (4): 516–532.
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Heinrich Zollinger; Logic and Psychology of Scientific Discoveries: A Case Study in Contemporary Chemistry. Perspectives on Science 1997; 5 (4): 516–532. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/posc_a_00538
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