Theories and Laws

  • Jennifer Trusted
Part of the Modern Introductions to Philosophy book series


In chapter 4, section vii there was a brief account of the hypotheticodeductive method. The hypothesis, perhaps a very tentative one, is put forward as a way of relating or of explaining certain observed facts. The hypothesis may be in the form of an empirical generalisation whereby observations become more ordered, or it may be in the form of a theory, whereby the facts are explained. Generally facts are ordered by empirical generalisations and then explained by theories, but, occasionally, as we shall see, the theory itself leads the scientist to new empirical generalisations, that is, to relations between observed facts which had not been previously appreciated.


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Questions and Further Reading

  1. A. J. Ayer, The Concept of a Person and Other Essays (Macmillan, London: 1963; paperback 1973), sect. 8.Google Scholar
  2. N. R. Campbell, The Foundations of Science (Dover, New York: 1957), ch. 2.Google Scholar
  3. L. Laudan. Laudan ‘Progress and its Problems’ (Routledge & Kegan Paul, London: 1977).Google Scholar
  4. G. Maxwell, ‘The Ontological Status of Theoretical Entities’, in Feigl and Maxwell (eds), Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Sciencevol.III (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1962).Google Scholar
  5. E. Nagel, The Structure of Science (Routledge, London: 1968), chs 4, 5 and 6.Google Scholar
  6. F. S. C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities (Macmillan Publishing Co., New York: 1949), ch. 4.Google Scholar
  7. K.Popper, Conjectures and Refutations (see 4 above), ch. 3.Google Scholar
  8. L.S. Stebbing, A Modern Introduction to Logic (see I above), ch. 20.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jennifer Trusted 1979

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  • Jennifer Trusted

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