Assessment and Discovery in the Limit of Scientific Inquiry
Acquisition of knowledge may come about in different ways. One step on the way to acquire knowledge would be to formulate a hypothesis and then evaluate the particular hypothesis in light of incoming evidence. Inductive logics, confirmation theory, and Popper’s deductivist epistemology all adopt this approach. Indeed, proponents of this “generate and test” epistemology have insisted that the core of scientific method is exhausted by the study of methods of hypothesis assessment. This lead Reichenbach to formulate the classical distinction between the context of justification and the context of discovery. Hempel later spoke of a logic of justification but only of a context of discovery just to emphasize the discrepancy. Whether a hypothesis is verified or refuted by the evidence is strictly a logical matter which can be settled “out of court” in a logical or approximately logical fashion. However, it seems to be the case of many, at least early, confirmation theorists or justificationists, like Hempel, that they did not insist on convergence to a correct hypothesis. For them, confirmation was to be an end in itself. In consequence, one could confirm forever heading nowhere near the correct answer.
KeywordsAssessment Method Discovery Method Modus Ponens Empirical Adequacy Knowledge Type
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