Hypothetico-deductive model

Topics: Scientific method, Falsifiability, Philosophy of science Pages: 2 (518 words) Published: March 25, 2014
The hypothetico-deductive model or method is a proposed description of scientific method. According to it, scientific inquiry proceeds by formulating a hypothesis in a form that could conceivably be falsified by a test on observable data. A test that could and does run contrary to predictions of the hypothesis is taken as a falsification of the hypothesis. A test that could but does not run contrary to the hypothesis corroborates the theory. It is then proposed to compare the explanatory value of competing hypotheses by testing how stringently they are corroborated by their predictions. Additionally, as pointed out by Carl Hempel (1905–1997), this simple view of the scientific method is incomplete; a conjecture can also incorporate probabilities, e.g., the drug is effective about 70% of the time.[5] Tests, in this case, must be repeated to substantiate the conjecture (in particular, the probabilities). In this and other cases, we can quantify a probability for our confidence in the conjecture itself and then apply a Bayesian analysis, with each experimental result shifting the probability either up or down. Bayes' Theorem shows that the probability will never reach exactly 0 or 100% (no absolute certainty in either direction), but it can still get very close to either extreme. See also confirmation holism. Qualification of corroborating evidence is sometimes raised as philosophically problematic. The raven paradox is a famous example. The hypothesis that 'all ravens are black' would appear to be corroborated by observations of only black ravens. However, 'all ravens are black' is logically equivalent to 'all non-black things are non-ravens' (this is the contraposition form of the original implication). 'This is a green tree' is an observation of a non-black thing that is a non-raven and therefore corroborates 'all non-black things are non-ravens'. It appears to follow that the observation 'this is a green tree' is corroborating evidence for the hypothesis 'all...
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