falsification

The central notion in the philosophy of science of Popper, although foreshadowed by Whewell and Peirce . In his Logik der Forschung (1934), Popper argued that the central virtue of science, as opposed to pseudo-science, is not that it puts forward hypotheses that are confirmed by evidence to some high degree, but that its hypotheses are capable of being refuted by evidence. That is, they genuinely face the possibility of test and rejection through not conforming to experience. The scientific method is not, therefore, the mechanical induction of generalizations from accumulated data, but the formation of bold hypotheses that are then subjected to rigorous test: a method of conjectures and refutations. It is no fault in a scientist to put forward an interesting conjecture that is subsequently refuted, but it would be a fault to put forward one which then permits no refutation, or to hold one in the face of refuting evidence.
Popper's idea found an enthusiastic following amongst working scientists, but philosophers of science have detected gaps and oversimplifications in the story. First, by removing induction and confirmation entirely, Popper seems to give no account of the extent to which it is rational to rely upon scientific theory in practice (for having survived tests so far is no indication of likely truth). Secondly, the actual picture of acceptance and rejection of scientific hypothesis is more complex than Popper suggests: something that one scientist regards as a refutation another might regard as an anomaly, depending on such things as the momentum of the research programme that threw up the hypothesis and the availability of alternative explanations. This blurs the difference between a scientist quite reasonably committed to some general framework of theory, such as Newtonian or relativistic physics, and the Marxists or Freudians whose pseudo-scientific pretensions were one of Popper's targets. See also confirmation theory, demarcation problem, verisimilitude.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • falsification — [ falsifikasjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1369; de falsifier 1 ♦ Action d altérer volontairement (une substance) en vue de tromper; son résultat. ⇒ fraude. Falsification du lait, du vin par addition d eau (mouillage). Falsification des monnaies métalliques par… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • falsification — fal·si·fi·ca·tion /ˌfȯl si fə kā shən/ n: an act or instance of falsifying Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. falsification …   Law dictionary

  • falsification — falsification, falsificationism To falsify a knowledge claim is to provide evidence that it is false. Since the time of David Hume , empiricist philosophy of science has struggled with the problem of induction : namely, how is it possible to… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Falsification — Fal si*fi*ca tion, n. [Cf. F. falsification.] 1. The act of falsifying, or making false; a counterfeiting; the giving to a thing an appearance of something which it is not. [1913 Webster] To counterfeit the living image of king in his person… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Falsification — may mean: *The act of disproving a proposition, hypothesis, or theory. (See, Validation, Mathematical proof, Falsifiability) *Forgery, the act of producing something that lacks authenticity with the intent to commit fraud or deception * Self… …   Wikipedia

  • falsification — 1560s, from L.L. falsificationem (nom. falsificatio), noun of action from pp. stem of falsificare (see FALSIFY (Cf. falsify)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • falsification — falsify fal‧si‧fy [ˈfɔːlsfaɪ ǁ ˈfɒːl ] verb falsified PTandPP [transitive] LAW ACCOUNTING to change figures, records etc so that they contain false information: • The financial director was charged with falsifying the company s …   Financial and business terms

  • falsification — (fal si fi ka sion ; en vers, de six syllabes) s. f. Action de falsifier ; résultat de cette action. •   La falsification des monnaies a toujours eu lieu dans tous les États et dans tous les temps, ROLLIN Hist. anc. Oeuv. t. x, p. 538, dans… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • FALSIFICATION — n. f. Action de falsifier. La falsification des denrées alimentaires. La falsification des monnaies. La falsification de cet acte est visible …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

  • FALSIFICATION — s. f. Action par laquelle on falsifie, ou État de la chose falsifiée. Il est coupable de falsification. La falsification de cet acte est visible …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

  • falsification — falsifikatas statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis Netikras, suklastotas produktas. atitikmenys: angl. counterfeit; falsification rus. фальсификат …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

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