What is the Problem of Ad Hoc Hypotheses?

Science & Education 8 (4):375 - 86. (1999)
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The received view of an ad hochypothesis is that it accounts for only the observation(s) it was designed to account for, and so non-ad hocness is generally held to be necessary or important for an introduced hypothesis or modification to a theory. Attempts by Popper and several others to convincingly explicate this view, however, prove to be unsuccessful or of doubtful value, and familiar and firmer criteria for evaluating the hypotheses or modified theories so classified are characteristically available. These points are obscured largely because the received view fails to adequately separate psychology from methodology or to recognise ambiguities in the use of ''ad hoc''.



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Greg Bamford
University of Queensland

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