[OPE-L:4173] Re: falsifiability

From: Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Date: Thu Oct 19 2000 - 21:15:36 EDT

On Thu, 19 Oct 2000, Michael Perelman wrote:

> The Duhem-Quine problem says that a theory cannot be
> rejected because a predicted outcome did not occur, since
> many auxiliary assumptions are required for the theory to be
> true.  Recall during the Reagan era that when promised
> results did not occur, the responsible authorities could
> claim that to be really effective we also needed the gold
> standard.

The Reagan-era policy case seems like a good example of the way
"Duhem-Quine" fades into plain old special pleading and refusal
to accept refutation.  In principle you can always find an
auxiliary assumption to take the hit, but then how convincing is
the original proposition?

Allin Cottrell.

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