Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lakatos quotes

Thus the crucial element in falsificationism is whether the new theory offers any novel, excess information compared with its predecessor and whether some of this excess information is corroborated. Justificationists valued 'confirming' instances of a theory; naive falsificationists stressed 'refuting' instances; for the methodological falsificationists it is the—rather rare—corroborating instances of the excess information which are the crucial ones; these receive all the attention.
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Again, for the naive falsificationist a theory is falsified by a "(fortified) observational" statement which conflicts with it (or rather, which he decides to interpret as conflicting with it). The sophisticated falsificationist regards a scientific theory T as falsified if and only if another theory T' has been proposed with the following characteristics: (1) T' has excess empirical content over T: that is, it predicts novel facts, that is, facts improbable in the light of, or even forbidden, by T,[4] (2) T' explains the previous success of T, that is, all the unrefuted content of T is contained (within the limits of observational error) in the content of T'; and (3) some of the excess content of T' is corroborated.[5] …
I used "prediction" in a wide sense that includes "postdiction."

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