Falsifiability

falsifiableunfalsifiablefalsificationfalsifiedfalsificationismfalsifyfalsificationistfalsifiesfalsifyingnon-falsifiable
A statement, hypothesis, or theory is falsifiable if it can be demonstrated to be false by observation.wikipedia
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Theory

theoreticaltheoriestheorist
A statement, hypothesis, or theory is falsifiable if it can be demonstrated to be false by observation.
Such theories are described in such a way that scientific tests should be able to provide empirical support for, or empirically contradict ("falsify") it.

Pseudoscience

pseudoscientificpseudo-scientificpseudo-science
Declaring an unfalsifiable theory to be scientific would then be pseudoscience.
Pseudoscience is often characterized by contradictory, exaggerated or unfalsifiable claims; reliance on confirmation bias rather than rigorous attempts at refutation; lack of openness to evaluation by other experts; absence of systematic practices when developing hypotheses; and continued adherence long after the pseudoscientific hypotheses have been experimentally discredited.

Scientific method

scientific researchscientificmethod
Declaring an unfalsifiable theory to be scientific would then be pseudoscience.
A scientific hypothesis must be falsifiable, implying that it is possible to identify a possible outcome of an experiment or observation that conflicts with predictions deduced from the hypothesis; otherwise, the hypothesis cannot be meaningfully tested.

Philosophy of science

philosopher of sciencephilosophers of sciencephilosophy
The concept was introduced by the philosopher of science Karl Popper. The classical view of the philosophy of science is that it is the goal of science to prove hypotheses like "All swans are white" or to induce them from observational data. Several contemporary philosophers of science and analytic philosophers are strongly critical of Popper's philosophy of science.
Popper argued that the central property of science is falsifiability.

Scientific law

laws of physicsphysical lawlaws of nature
Scientific theories are a particular kind of universal statements.
Like theories and hypotheses, laws make predictions (specifically, they predict that new observations will conform to the law), and can be falsified if they are found in contradiction with new data.

Conspiracy theory

conspiracy theoriesconspiracy theoristconspiracy
Thus, naïve falsification ought to, but does not, supply a way of handling competing hypotheses for many subject controversies (for instance conspiracy theories and urban legends).
Conspiracy theories resist falsification and are reinforced by circular reasoning: both evidence against the conspiracy and an absence of evidence for it, are re-interpreted as evidence of its truth, and the conspiracy becomes a matter of faith rather than proof.

The Logic of Scientific Discovery

Logik der ForschungLogic of Scientific Discovery1959 book
Popper drew attention to these limitations in The Logic of Scientific Discovery in response to criticism from Pierre Duhem.
Popper argues that science should adopt a methodology based on falsifiability, because no number of experiments can ever prove a theory, but a reproducible experiment or observation can refute one.

Ad hoc hypothesis

ad hocad hoc'' hypothesesad hoc hypotheses
Scientific theories can always be defended by the addition of ad hoc hypotheses.
In science and philosophy, an ad hoc hypothesis is a hypothesis added to a theory in order to save it from being falsified.

Hypothesis

hypotheseshypotheticalhypothesized
A statement, hypothesis, or theory is falsifiable if it can be demonstrated to be false by observation. The classical view of the philosophy of science is that it is the goal of science to prove hypotheses like "All swans are white" or to induce them from observational data.
The formulated hypothesis is then evaluated where either the hypothesis is proven to be "true" or "false" through a verifiability- or falsifiability-oriented experiment.

Willard Van Orman Quine

QuineW. V. O. QuineW. V. Quine
W. V. Quine expounded this argument in detail, calling it confirmation holism.
Thus, while it is possible to verify or falsify whole theories, it is not possible to verify or falsify individual statements.

Explanatory power

explainingexplanatoryusefulness of the model
Falsified theories are to be replaced by theories that can account for the phenomena that falsified the prior theory, that is, with greater explanatory power.
Philosopher and physicist David Deutsch offers a criterion for a good explanation that he says may be just as important to scientific progress as learning to reject appeals to authority and falsifiability.

Ad hoc

ad-hocadhocAd hoc query
On hearing that a black swan has been observed in Australia, one might introduce the ad hoc hypothesis, 'all swans are white except those found in Australia'; or one might adopt another, more cynical view about some observers, 'Australian bird watchers are incompetent'.
In science and philosophy, ad hoc means the addition of extraneous hypotheses to a theory to save it from being falsified.

Inductive reasoning

inductioninductiveinductive logic
The classical view of the philosophy of science is that it is the goal of science to prove hypotheses like "All swans are white" or to induce them from observational data.

Karl Popper

PopperSir Karl PopperConjectures and Refutations
The concept was introduced by the philosopher of science Karl Popper. Several contemporary philosophers of science and analytic philosophers are strongly critical of Popper's philosophy of science.
One of the 20th century's most influential philosophers of science, Popper is known for his rejection of the classical inductivist views on the scientific method in favour of empirical falsification.

Demarcation problem

demarcationproblem of demarcationdemarcate
Popper uses falsification as a criterion of demarcation to draw a sharp line between those theories that are scientific and those that are unscientific.
Falsifiability is the demarcation criterion proposed by Karl Popper as opposed to verificationism: "statements or systems of statements, in order to be ranked as scientific, must be capable of conflicting with possible, or conceivable observations".

Pierre Duhem

DuhemDuhem, PierreP. Duhem
Popper drew attention to these limitations in The Logic of Scientific Discovery in response to criticism from Pierre Duhem.
Possible alternatives to induction are Duhem's instrumentalism and Popper's thesis that we learn from falsification.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Structure of Scientific RevolutionsHistorical turn1962 book
Whereas Popper was concerned in the main with the logic of science, Thomas Kuhn's influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions examined in detail the history of science.
One theory to which Kuhn replies directly is Karl Popper's “falsificationism,” which stresses falsifiability as the most important criterion for distinguishing between that which is scientific and that which is unscientific.

Empiricism

empiricistempiricalempirically
Some economists, such as those of the Austrian School, believe that macroeconomics is empirically unfalsifiable and that thus the only appropriate means to understand economic events is by logically studying the intentions of individual economic decision-makers, based on certain fundamental truths.
Empiricism, often used by natural scientists, says that "knowledge is based on experience" and that "knowledge is tentative and probabilistic, subject to continued revision and falsification".

Analytic philosophy

Analyticanalytic philosopheranalytical philosophy
Several contemporary philosophers of science and analytic philosophers are strongly critical of Popper's philosophy of science.
In reaction to what he considered excesses of logical positivism, Karl Popper's insisted on the role of falsification in the philosophy of science—although his general method was also part of the analytic tradition.

Objectivity (science)

objectivityobjectivescientific objectivity
Therefore, naïve falsification does not enable scientists, who rely on objective criteria, to present a definitive falsification of universal statements.
When observational data arises which appears to contradict or falsify a given scientific paradigm, scientists within that paradigm historically have not immediately rejected it, as Karl Popper's philosophical theory of falsificationism would have them do.

Thomas Kuhn

Thomas S. KuhnThomas Samuel KuhnKuhn
Whereas Popper was concerned in the main with the logic of science, Thomas Kuhn's influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions examined in detail the history of science.
During the period of normal science, the failure of a result to conform to the paradigm is seen not as refuting the paradigm, but as the mistake of the researcher, contra Popper's falsifiability criterion.

Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Daubert v. Merrell Dow PharmaceuticalsSupreme CourtDaubert
Falsifiability has been used in the McLean v. Arkansas case (in 1982), the Daubert case (in 1993) and other cases (see below).
Discerning between science and "pseudoscience" was the theme of a book by Karl Popper whose summary was quoted in Daubert: "the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability."

Otto Neurath

Neurath, OttoOtto
This was an essential feature of the logical positivism of the so-called Vienna Circle that included such philosophers as Moritz Schlick, Rudolf Carnap, Otto Neurath, the Berlin philosopher Hans Reichenbach, and the logical empiricism of A.J. Ayer.
Neurath claimed that magic was unfalsifiable and therefore disenchantment could never be complete in a scientific age.

Precambrian rabbit

fossil rabbits in the Precambrian erafossil rabbits were found in the Precambrian erarabbit in the Precambrian
J.B.S. Haldane, when asked what hypothetical evidence could disprove evolution, replied "fossil rabbits in the Precambrian era".
This followed an assertion by philosopher, Karl Popper, who had proposed that falsifiability is an essential feature of a scientific theory.

Uncertainty principle

Heisenberg uncertainty principleHeisenberg's uncertainty principleuncertainty relation
Thus the new theory had to posit the existence of unintuitive concepts such as energy levels, quanta and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.
Therefore, it is possible that there would be predictability of the subatomic particles behavior and characteristics to a recording device capable of very high speed tracking....Ironically this fact is one of the best pieces of evidence supporting Karl Popper's philosophy of invalidation of a theory by falsification-experiments.