BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

Hypothetico-deductivism: the current state of play; the criterion of empirical significance: endgame

Gemes, Ken (1998) Hypothetico-deductivism: the current state of play; the criterion of empirical significance: endgame. Erkenntnis 49 (1), pp. 1-20. ISSN 0165-0106.

[img]
Preview
Text
Gemes5.pdf

Download (136Kb) | Preview
Official URL: http://www.springerlink.com/openurl.asp?genre=arti...

Abstract

Any precise version of H-D needs to handle various problems, most notably, the problem of selective confirmation: Precise formulations of H-D should not have the consequence that where S confirms T, for any T', S confirms T&T'. It is the perceived failure of H-D to solve such problems that has lead John Earman to recently conclude that H-D is "very nearly a dead horse". This suggests the following state of play: H-D is an intuitively plausible idea that breaks down in the attempt to give it a precise formulation. Indeed I think that fairly captures the view among specialists in the field of confirmation theory. Here I argue that the truth about H-D is largely the reverse: H-D can be given a precise formulation that avoids the longstanding technical problems, however, it relies on a fundamentally unsound philosophical intuition. The bulk of this paper involves reviewing the problems affecting previous attempts at giving precise formulations of H-D and displaying some recent versions that can handle these problems. It then briefly explains why the basic intuition behind H-D is itself unsound, namely, because H-D involves a tacit assumption of inductive scepticism. Finally, the historical relation between H-D and the positivists' quest for a criterion of empirical significance will be reconsidered with the surprising result that having glossed H-D as fundamentally unsound it is concluded that a sound version of the criterion of empirical significance is now available. The demarcation criterion, the positivists' philosopher's stone that serves to separate claims with empirical significance from claims lacking empirical significance having finally been found, it is argued that we should regard empirical significance as just one among a variety of virtues and not follow the positivists in taking it to be a sin qua non for all meaningful statements.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The orginal publication is available at http://www.springerlink.com
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 10 May 2005
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:32
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/151

Archive Staff Only (login required)

Edit/View Item Edit/View Item