Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 243–259 | Cite as

Confirmation of Scientific Hypotheses as Relations

  • Aysel DoganEmail author


In spite of several attempts to explicate the relationship between a scientific hypothesis and evidence, the issue still cries for a satisfactory solution. Logical approaches to confirmation, such as the hypothetico-deductive method and the positive instance account of confirmation, are problematic because of their neglect of the semantic dimension of hypothesis confirmation. Probabilistic accounts of confirmation are no better than logical approaches in this regard. An outstanding probabilistic account of confirmation, the Bayesian approach, for instance, is found to be defective in that it treats evidence as a formal entity and this creates the problem of relevance of evidence to the hypothesis at issue, in addition to the difficulties arising from the subjective interpretation of probabilities. This essay purports to satisfy the need for a successful account of hypothesis confirmation by offering an original formulation based on the notion of instantiation of the relation urged by an hypothesis.

Key words

Bayesian approach confirmation evidence relation scientific hypotheses 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Carnap, R.: 1988, ‘The Nature of Theories’, in Klemke, E.D., Hollinger, R., and Kline, A.D. (eds.), Introductory Readings in the Philosophy of Science, Prometheus Books, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Cartwright, N.: 1999, The Dappled World, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  3. Christensen, D.: 1990, ‘The Irrelevance of Bootstrapping’, Philosophy of Science 57, 644–662.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Duhem, P.: 1954, The Aim and the Structure of Physical Theory, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  5. Earman, J.: 1992, Bayes or Bust? The MIT Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  6. Eddington, A.: 1966, Space, Time and Gravitation, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  7. Giere, R. N.: 1999, Science Without Laws, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  8. Glymour, C.: 1980, Theory and Evidence, Princeton University Press, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  9. Helvoort, T.: 1994, ‘History of Virus Research in the Twentieth Century: The Problem of Conceptual Continuity’, History of Science 32, 185–235.Google Scholar
  10. Hempel, C. G.: 1965, Aspects of Scientific Explanation, The Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Howson, C. and Urbach, P.: 1989, Scientific Reasoning: The Bayesian Approach, Open Court, Illinois.Google Scholar
  12. Kyburg, Jr. H. E.: 1983, Epistemology and Inference, University of Minnesota Press, .Google Scholar
  13. Mayo, D. G.: 1996, Error and the Growth of Experimental Knowledge, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  14. Nunan, R.: 1993, ‘Heuristic Novelty and the Asymmetry Problem in Bayesian Confirmation Theory’, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44, 17–36.Google Scholar
  15. Pollock, J. L.: 1986, Contemporary Theories of Knowledge, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, London.Google Scholar
  16. Popper, K. R.: 1972, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Hutchinson, London.Google Scholar
  17. Prior, E. W., Pargetter, R., and Jackson, F.: 1982, ‘Three Theses About Dispositions’, American Philosophical Quarterly 19, 251–257.Google Scholar
  18. Root-Bernstein, R. S.: 1983, ‘Mendel and Methodology’, History of Science 21, 275–295.Google Scholar
  19. Salmon, W. C.: 1966, The Foundations of Scientific Inference, University of Pittsburg Press, Pittsburg.Google Scholar
  20. Suppe, F.: 1989, The Semantic Conception of Theories and Scientific Realism, University of Illinois Press, Urbana.Google Scholar
  21. van Fraassen, B. C.: 1987, ‘The Semantic Approach to Scientific Theories’, in Nersessian, N. J. (ed.), The Process of Science, 105–124, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  22. Zahar, E.: 1973, ‘Why did Einstein’s Programme Supersede Lorentz’s?’, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 24, 223–262.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyMiddle East Technical UniversityAnkaraTurkey

Personalised recommendations