David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 58 (4):523-552 (1991)
While many philosophers of science have accorded special evidential significance to tests whose results are "novel facts", there continues to be disagreement over both the definition of novelty and why it should matter. The view of novelty favored by Giere, Lakatos, Worrall and many others is that of use-novelty: An accordance between evidence e and hypothesis h provides a genuine test of h only if e is not used in h's construction. I argue that what lies behind the intuition that novelty matters is the deeper intuition that severe tests matter. I set out a criterion of severity akin to the notion of a test's power in Neyman-Pearson statistics. I argue that tests which are use-novel may fail to be severe, and tests that are severe may fail to be use-novel. I discuss the 1919 eclipse data as a severe test of Einstein's law of gravity
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