Induction and the Scope of Theories

  • Thomas A. Brody


More than fifty years ago, Karl Popper (1936) gave a forceful argument to the effect that induction is not a tenable way to establish either that a scientific theory is acceptable or that it is more acceptable than rival theories. This chapter is motivated by two considerations: (1) as the steady flow of publications on the subject shows, the old confusions about induction remain alive, and (2) Popper’s argument, while conclusive, is formal; there is more to be said. The weakness of inductivist conceptions lies in a mistaken view of the nature of scientific theories; they are seen as — ideally — universal propositions, while (as I shall argue) their abstract component is a set of propositions of finite scope, the determination of which is one basic purpose of experimentation.


Elastic Scattering Scientific Theory Optical Model Scientific Practice Confirmation Theory 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

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  • Thomas A. Brody

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