This paper discusses the nineteenth-century debate concerning the nature of light. We analyse the debate using a computational theory of coherence that models the acceptance of the wave theory of light and the rejection of the particle theory. We show how our analysis of the controversy avoids Achinstein's criticisms of Whe-well's coherentist account, and argue that our interpretation is more computationally tractable and psychologically realistic than Achinstein's probabilistic account.

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