Theories of Confirmation in Which Hypotheses Do Not Have Probabilities

Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 426)


In this chapter, I consider three theories of evidence, namely, hypothetico-deductivism, Carl Hempel’s “satisfaction” theory, and Deborah Mayo’s “error-statistical” theory. These theories are considered together because they share the characteristic that hypotheses themselves do not have probabilities (in contrast to those that do, i.e., p(h) = r; 0 ≤ r ≤ 1, which are considered in Chap.  3). I discuss hypothetico-deductivism mainly using Karl Popper’s approach to this theory. I attempt to explicate these theories in sufficient detail so that in later chapters I will be able to argue that they do not satisfactorily explain confirmation in clinical medical science, and that the “weight of evidence” account does this more satisfactorily. I also include some objections to these theories that have been offered by others.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Birmingham Radiological GroupBirminghamUSA

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