I have been working on a PhD for over 6 years, and in that time have published 5 (conference) papers, each of which I intend to convert to journal articles after my PhD. My supervisor has been insisting that I do some experiments which have turned out to be considerably more challenging than either of us expected. Our funding has run out, so I recently asked my supervisor if it would be okay to scrap the experiments and defend what I have done so far at the end of the year. Based on the volume and quality of my work, I think any objective person would feel that I have done more than enough for a PhD. (Indeed, I've had a professor who clearly has read my work ask me out of the blue at a conference why I haven't graduated yet, as he thinks I've done way more than is typical for a PhD.)
My supervisor's reaction was particularly bad: He accused me of reneging on a promise, suggested that I've been conning him for years, etc. I agree completely with him that the experiments would be nice to have, but I disagree that they are essential, and I particularly disagree that they are worth going into debt over. I think we could get a good paper detailing what we've done so far and what the challenges have been. Unfortunately that option was unacceptable to him too.
Question: Any attempt to discuss this further with my supervisor goes nowhere. What are my options at this point? I told him that in the absence of funding I will be dropping out at the end of the semester. He said that is a waste, which I agree with, but ultimately I don't want to continue what I'm now viewing as abuse.
Update, one month later. Taking the advice I received here and elsewhere, I decided to complete one additional set of experiments and then speak with my supervisor again. These experiments' results did not solve all our problems, though they did clarify some things. We then had a discussion about what he expects me to do to graduate, and again, he made clear that he doesn't care about what I did previously and only wants the new experiments and some computer simulations of the experiments. I tried to justify what I did previously as necessary to do the new experiments correctly, but he wasn't convinced.
Some suggested that my situation would be different if I had journal publications. So, I asked if submitting my previous work to journals soon would make a difference. Surprisingly, he said yes, it would. So, we agreed that I would submit my previous work to journals before the end of the semester, and write up a chapter in my dissertation on the completed experiments. I will switch to a part-time position at the end of the year, move to a cheaper location, get a job, and return late in the spring semester to defend. In that time I should have reviews for some of the journal articles, which is sufficient for my supervisor.
Update, 6 months later. After a delay due to COVID, I successfully defended this summer, and am working a full-time (non-research) job.
I submitted two papers to a journal late last year, both of which were accepted well in advance of my defense. My supervisor seemed skeptical of the papers' acceptance before they appeared online. I suspect that they believed both would be soundly rejected, but the reviews were fine. The most substantial points were fixed by rewriting parts of the papers to improve clarity. My dissertation was quickly finished. As it turned out, we agreed to reduce the chapter on the experiments to an appendix.
My defense was fine overall. At this point, I believe the problems with my supervisor stem mostly from differences in research philosophy. I added a brief description of my philosophy to my dissertation; I think this helped my supervisor understand my choices better.