Popper believes that science does not begin with the collection of empirical data, but starts with the formulation of a hypothesis (Veronesi, 2014, p1). Alexander Bird outlines Popper’s view on the scientific method in his book Philosophy of Science (1998, pp.239-240). This view is that scientists use a process of imagination to invent a hypothesis. However, once this has been established, scientists must attempt to falsify this hypothesis or theory, and continue to do so until the theory/hypothesis has been falsified. When the theory/hypothesis has been falsified, the scientists can come to the conclusion that the hypothesis is false. This method of falsification is supposedly distinctive of science, and this is what sets science apart from pseudo-science. The discarding of false theories explains how science is able to move forward and progress (Bird, 1998). Popper thought that the defining nature of a scientific hypothesis or theory is that it should be falsifiable. The ability of a theory to be proven false does not necessarily mean that the theory is false; just that the theory makes confident predictions that can be tested. Therefore a falsifiable theory is one that we may discover to be false (Okasha, 2002, p13).
Scientific theories tend to encompass many possibilities, no matter how many possible outcomes have been tested and are known to be true, there will always ...
... middle of paper ...
...also a problem with Popper’s falsification when it comes to the significant role that statistical and probabilistic hypotheses play in science (Watkins, 2000). We are unable to falsify hypotheses of probability as an improbable outcome may be the result of an experiment, and this would be “consistent with the original statement” (Ladyman, 2002, p81-82). The future of the probabilistic hypothesis could go a number of ways and bring the ratio back to where it should be (Bird, 1998, p179).
In conclusion, the arguments laid out here show that it is not possible to decisively falsify a scientific theory hypothesis, as there are many different types of hypothesis that can come under the classification of science. Popper says that only a falsifiable hypothesis is scientific (Okasha, 2002, p13), but this discounts many areas of science, and many different types of science.
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