Testing Scientific Theories

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John Earman
U of Minnesota Press, 1983 - Science - 484 pages
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Testing Scientific Theories was first published in 1984. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

Since much of a scientist's work consists of constructing arguments to show how experiments and observation bear on a particular theory, the methodologies of theory testing and their philosophical underpinnings are of vital concern to philosophers of science. Confirmation of scientific theories is the topic of Clark Glymour's important book Theory and Evidence,published in 1980. His negative thesis is that the two most widely discussed accounts of the methodology of theory testing - hypothetico-deductivism and Bayesianism - are flawed. The issues Glymour raises and his alternative "bootstrapping" method provided the focus for a conference sponsored by the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science and for this book. As editor John Earman says in his preface, the papers presented in Testing Scientific Theories germinate so many new ideas that philosophers of science will reap the harvest for years to come.

Topics covered include a discussion of Glymour's bootstrapping theory of confirmation, the Bayesian perspective and the problems of old evidence, evidence and explanation, historical case studies, alternative views on testing theories, and testing particular theories, including psychoanalytic hypotheses and hypotheses about the completeness of the fossil record.

  

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Contents

II The Bayesian Perspective and the Problem of Old Evidence
67
III Evidence and Explanation
163
IV Historical Case Studies
177
V Some Alternative Views on Testing Theories
267
VI Testing Particular Theories
313
Author Index
477
Subject Index
481
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About the author (1983)

John Earman is adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. He served as editor, with Clark Glymour and John J. Stachel, of another volume in this series, Foundations of Space-Time Theories.

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