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Criteria_of_Ad_-_Weird_Things[1]

Criteria_of_Ad_-_Weird_Things[1] - ft= w e i g h t l e sa...

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ft=.*-, weightless asu,ell. Even th.Lrgh phlogiston was supposed to flow intcr substances that n'ere hcated, carefr,rl experiments had found that increases in temper.rtlrrc did n.t produce increases in weight phlo- giston u'as also th.'ght tr llon, orrt of sr,rbstances that were burned. what Lrltirnately led t'thc the.ry's dernise, hou.ever, was the cliscov- ery that somc substances actually gain u,eight when burned. French chernist Ant.ine [-a'.rsier foLrnd that when tin was burned, for ex- arnple, the res'lting rretallic'xide wcighed rnore than the orisinal tin lf phlogistrn n'ere lost durrng Lrurning, he argLrecl, thi. *"ight gain v'ouldn't be possible I)efenders of the phlogist.n theory tried to account f'r this phe- nomenon b1, hypothesizing that the phlogiston in tin possessed neg_ ative rveight, so that when it l'as lost,the tin gained rt,eight But thls hypothesis was soon scen for what it r-eally rr,,a5-adesperate attempt to save the theory 1'r.rn the facts. Unlike Leverrier'.s postulation of the existence ol the planet that u.as narned Neptune, there wasno way to independently conhrrn .r confute the negative n,eight hypothesis. It u'as ad hoc in the trLrest se nse of the term. The rnoralof this story is that for a hypothesis to increase our knou,lcdgc. there rnr.rst be s.rne way to test it, for if there isn,t, we have no u'a1, of tclling u,hether or not the hypothesis is true. CRITERIA OF ADEQUACY Tb explarn s,rnething is t., offcr a hypothesis that hcrps us under- stand it. For example, \\,c can explain u,hy a penny left outside turns g'ccn by .ffcring the hypothcsis rhat the pe nny is rnade .ut of cro- per and that rvhen copper oxidizcs, it tr-rrns green. BLrt tor any set of facts, it's p.ssible t. cievise any nurrber.f hypotheses t, acc.unt for them. SLrpposc that solre()ne n,antecl t. knou, r.l,hat makes fluores- cent lights rv.rk one hyp.thesis is that inside each t'be is a little grernJin r,r,ho crcates light (sparks) bi, slr;L'n* his pickax against the side ol the tubc In additi.n t. the ,ne grernlin hyp.thesis, there is the tu'o grernlin hypothesis, the three grernlin hypothesis, and so on Because thc.e is alrn'ays rn.rc than'ne hyp.thesls to acc()Lrnt tor any set ol facts and because no set of facts can conclusively confirrr or confute any hypothesis, u,c rnust appeal to sornething besides the tacts in.rder t. decidc which hyp.thcsis is the rnost reasonable What i,r.e appcal t.
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