Science and Hypothesis: Historical Essays on Scientific Methodology

Springer (1981)
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Abstract

This book consists of a collection of essays written between 1965 and 1981. Some have been published elsewhere; others appear here for the first time. Although dealing with different figures and different periods, they have a common theme: all are concerned with examining how the method of hy pothesis came to be the ruling orthodoxy in the philosophy of science and the quasi-official methodology of the scientific community. It might have been otherwise. Barely three centuries ago, hypothetico deduction was in both disfavor and disarray. Numerous rival methods for scientific inquiry - including eliminative and enumerative induction, analogy and derivation from first principles - were widely touted. The method of hypothesis, known since antiquity, found few proponents between 1700 and 1850. During the last century, of course, that ordering has been inverted and - despite an almost universal acknowledgement of its weaknesses - the method of hypothesis (usually under such descriptions as 'hypothetico deduction' or 'conjectures and refutations') has become the orthodoxy of the 20th century. Behind the waxing and waning of the method of hypothesis, embedded within the vicissitudes of its fortunes, there is a fascinating story to be told. It is a story that forms an integral part of modern science and its philosophy.

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Larry Laudan
University of Texas at Austin

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