Since much of a scientist’s work consists of constructing arguments to show how experiments and observation bear on a particular theory, the methodologies of theory testing and their philosophical underpinnings are of vital concern to philosophers of science. Confirmation of scientific theories is the topic of Clark Glymour’s important book Theory and Evidence, published in 1980. His negative thesis is that the two most widely discussed accounts of the methodology of theory testing - hypothetico-deductivism and Bayesianism - are flawed. The issues Glymour raises and his alternative “bootstrapping” method provided the focus for a conference sponsored by the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science and for this book. As editor John Earman says in his preface, the papers presented in Testing Scientific Theories germinate so many new ideas that philosophers of science will reap the harvest for years to come. Topics covered include a discussion of Glymour’s bootstrapping theory of confirmation, the Bayesian perspective and the problems of old evidence, evidence and explanation, historical case studies, alternative views on testing theories, and testing particular theories, including psychoanalytic hypotheses and hypotheses about the completeness of the fossil record.
Subjects: General Science
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