Hypothetico-Deductive Method

Discipline: Philosophy

Scientific method whereby science should set up testable hypotheses and then try to falsify them, rather than trying to confirm them directly by accumulating favourable evidence.

Introduced by the English scholar William Whewell (1794-1866) and developed especially by the Austrian philosopher Karl Raimund Popper (1902-1994).

Those hypotheses which - despite severe tests - survive unfalsified are thereby confirmed for Whewell; Popper goes further and says they are merely 'corroborated', a notion which is supposed to avoid the logical invalidity associated with induction.

Also see: deductivism, falsificationism, improbabilism, inductivism

K R Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959); unrevised German original 1934


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