martedì 30 ottobre 2018
Falsifiability and the scientific theory
The need for a clear distinction between scientific theory and metaphysical theory underlies the fundamental question of what "science is".
The philosophy of science has always sought in the cognitive method the element of possible characterization of science with respect to other fields of investigation. An accurate description of science is done by the empiricist school. It identifies the scientific method with the inductive method, regulated by the principle of induction. Thus, the rigorous application of the inductive method to cognitive practice should serve as a criterion demarcating science from non-science. The empiricist attempt fails: science does not proceed by using induction, and then the inductive method can not be the criterion of demarcation.
Popper acknowledged the inadequacy of a theory of empiricist confirmation proposing a model of science governed by a falsificationist logic.
Science progresses through continuous conjectures and refutations and corroborations, regulated by logical deduction. We go from theory to the control of this through facts and not from facts to theory. "A theory is not scientific if it is not falsifiable" is the criterion of demarcation between science and pseudoscience proposed by Popper.
A careful historical analysis shows, however, that science does not proceed through conjectures and refutations according to a falsificationist logic. Therefore, the criterion proposed by Popper is ultimately bankrupt and can not pretend to demarcate anything real.