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Philosophy Essay

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Alan Chalmer’s controversial description of scientific method is, in many ways, in opposition to Karl Popper’s hypothetico-deductivist account, otherwise known as falsificationism. In this essay, I will elaborate on the various conflicts that the Popperian view has with Chalmer’s account. I think that Chalmer and Popper have common ground on which they have built their views but that while each are imperfect, I support the Popperian hypothetico-deductivist account as the predominant view at present. I shall justify this in my proposed objections to Chalmer’s statements but also highlight the shortcomings of falsificationism. I will assume that science is rational.
Let me now introduce Popper’s account of scientific method. He devised the hypothetico-deductive method in which Popper claims that scientific advancement begins with the formulation of a hypothesis that describes our surroundings*. Once conceived, this hypothesis can be subject to refutations aiming to falsify it*. However, there is a potentially unlimited number of refutations that can be made, meaning that a hypothesis can never be proven true. Rather, it can be considered the best estimation of the truth given that it has withstood all previous refutations*.Falsity in itself can be a vague topic and can be misinterpreted without a clear understanding of it. To falsify a claim is to show that the claim can be proven false whereas falsifiability is its potential to be falsified. In regards to Alan Chalmer’s view of science, a Popperian hypothetico-deductivist would find many flaws in the claims that are made by Chalmer.
In Chalmer’s first claim that “scientific knowledge is proven knowledge”, we can see that this contradicts heavily with Popper’s falsificationism*. The...

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...ith deductive refutations which, by nature, must also be based on experience. The difference between the two arguments lies in the extent of testing before the hypothesis can be considered true. The Popperian view would be that it is impossible for it to be proved as new evidence may falsify the hypothesis whereas Chalmer infers that, at some point, it can become proven knowledge.
The next comparison I will make refers to Chalmer’s statement that “science is based on what we can see and hear and touch, etc.”. This is also concurrent with falsificationism as it considers all scientific knowledge to be falsifiable. In order to disprove a scientific claim then it must be testable and must therefore be based on what we can perceive around us.
While Popperian hypothetico-deductivism seemingly solves the issues with induction, it also has some flaws which I will elucidate.
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