Falsification Thesis

Falsification Thesis-85
Popper's view is not widely acceptable in contemporary philosophy of science. Haldane once said - whereas intelligent design is not, mostly because it makes no predictions that can actually be tested. Firstly, the hypothesis relies on a number of supporting assumptions.

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However this discrepancy between theory and evidence was not considered a falsification of the theory; in time the discrepancy was resolved through the discovery of Neptune.

In the late 19th century a similar discrepancy was discovered in the orbit of Mercury.

This time, however, this discrepancy did lead to the falsification of Newtonian gravity; the discrepancy could only be resolved when Einstein proposed his amended theory of gravity.

Scientists will typically not consider a theory as falsified simply because of the existence of discrepancies between theoretical predictions and observations, even if those discrepancies remain unexplained for a long time; in fact attempting to account for such discrepancies is what motivates a lot of scientific research.

It was the specific predictions made by Newton's laws that allowed scientists to test them, and eventually replace them.

This happened because the predictions made Newton's laws falsifiable.

Around this hard core is a "protective belt" of auxiliary hypothesis and modified or ad hoc assumptions added by scientists to protect the core of the program from falsification.

While the protective belt is auxiliary and ad hoc, this does not necessarily translate to "bad" in Lakatos' view.

The Duhem-Quine Thesis is often contrasted with or considered to modify "naive" or "Popperian" falsificationism.

Imre Lakatos further extended Popperian falsification and the Duhem-Quine Thesis with his concept of "research programs." Lakatos defined extensively developed theories and techniques in a field as the "hard core" of a research program.


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