Confirmation and Corroboration

  • James H. Fetzer
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 69)


The question that remains, of course, is whether science can ultimately succeed if its methods are confined to fallibilistic falsification, that is: surely an adequate conception of scientific knowledge should provide for the acceptance as well as the rejection of some hypotheses and theories, perhaps in the form of merely probable knowledge. Popper ([1965], p. 368, note 3), however, denies even this modest conception of inductive capabilities:

Empirical knowledge in some sense of the word ‘knowledge’ exists. But in other senses — for example in the sense of certain knowledge, or of demonstrable knowledge — it does not. And we must not assume, uncritically, that we have ‘probable’ knowledge — knowledge that is probable in the sense of the calculus of probability. It is indeed my contention that we do not have probable knowledge in this sense. For I believe that what we call ‘empirical’ knowledge, including ‘scientific knowledge’, consists of guesses, and that many of these guesses arc not probable (or have a probability zero) even though they may be very well corroborated.


Severe Test Universal Generalization Auxiliary Hypothesis Probable Knowledge Popperian Program 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • James H. Fetzer
    • 1
  1. 1.New College of the University of South FloridaUSA

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