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Evaluative Essay 1

Evaluative Essay 1 - Hargreaves 1 THE FALSITY OF...

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Hargreaves - 1 - THE FALSITY OF FALSIFICATIONISM BY JOHN HARGREAVES Austrian philosopher Karl Popper has claimed in order for a hypothesis or theory to be considered scientific, it must be falsifiable. In other words, it must able to endure a series of rigorous tests created particularly for the hypothesis to be disconfirmed. When a theory is acknowledged as being falsifiable, it is not necessarily false; rather it could be subject to criticism. Popper declared falsificationism as an alternative method to induction, maintaining his view that inductive reasoning has no legitimate role in science, nor can it offer confirmation of the validity of a theory (Holowchak 102-104). When each attempt at disproving the specified hypothesis fails, Popper states the theory or hypothesis can be considered “well-corroborated” (Holowchak 104). Corroboration, according to Popper, differs from confirmation. While confirmation fully verifies that a hypothesis is true, corroboration only insists the hypothesis is, in essence, well thought-out. Popper states that confirmation should only be considered if it is the outcome of a risky hypothesis. He also believes confirmations are relatively easy to find, if one is looking for them. In this paper, I argue that falsification is an inaccurate means of evaluating the validity of a hypothesis. Popularized by Popper himself, falsificationism was created as an alternative to inductive reasoning. It attempted to solve the problems of induction and provide a more accurate means of assessing the legitimacy of theories and hypotheses (Holowchak 102). Although Popper was not the first to explore the problems of induction, he undoubtedly came up with the greatest response to them. David Hume, the man credited as the first to question the method of induction, hypothesized that the main problem of induction was making the assumption that all events in the future will happen as they did in the past. For example, take an experiment using fire. If one
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Hargreaves - 2 - touches the fire with his or her bare hand, one will declare the fire to be hot. In all past experiments, there has not been a single time where the fire has not been hot. But who is to say that fire will continue to be hot in the future? Consequently, one cannot predict the future and
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