By Gerard Radnitzky, Gunnar Andersson (auth.), Gerard Radnitzky, Gunnar Andersson (eds.)
This selection of essays has advanced in the course of the co-operative efforts, which begun within the fall of 1974, of the individuals in a workshop subsidized by way of the Fritz Thyssen origin. the assumption of keeping a number of small colloquia dedicated to the subjects of rational selection in technological know-how and medical growth originated in a talk in the summertime of 1973 among one of many editors (GR) and the past due Imre Lakatos. regrettably Lakatos himself was once by no means capable of see this undertaking via, yet his thought-provoking method of clinical examine programmes used to be ably expounded and defended by means of his successors. certainly, this quantity maintains and deepens the controversy inaugurated in feedback and the expansion of data (edited by way of Imre Lakatos and Alan Musgrave), a ebook which grew out of a convention held in 1965. that discuss has endured in the course of the years that experience handed on the grounds that that convention. the crowd of discussions concerning the position of rationality in technology which were held among those that emphasize the heritage of technological know-how (with Feyerabend and Kuhn because the so much widespread exponents) and the severe rationalists (Popper and his followers), with Imre Lakatos protecting a center floor, those discussions have been visible by means of just about all commentators because the most crucial occasion within the philosophy of technological know-how within the final decade. This challenge quarter constituted the relevant topic of our Thyssen workshop. The workshop operated within the following manner.
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Of the latter, four told in favour of T' and against T but one told in favour of T against T'. Of the former, all five corroborated T'. Clearly, T' is in some sense a better theory than T. But how could 42 JOHN WATKINS this judgment be articulated within Popper's methodology? A few years ago he might have said that these test-results, together with the logical relations in which T' stands to T, at least permit us to conjecture that T' has more verisimilitude than T. But some recent results of Miller  and Tichy  show that such an appraisal is impermissible in the case of two false theories, which is presumably what we have here.
4 Thus, for Popper empirical support is not a simple two-place relation between theory and evidence, but rather a three-place relation between theory, evidence and 'background knowledge'. Simplifying slightly, the relation holds whenever the evidence is implied by the theory but not by 'background knowledge'. 5 Of what does 'background knowledge' consist? 7 One of the arguments in favour of this account of factual support with its strong temporal or historical element has been that it captures more of scientists' intuitive decisions about confirmation in particular cases.
17 Agassi in  gave a nice example of a type (4) instance providing corroboration. The hypothesis "All freely falling bodies fall with constant acceleration" is tested by dropping steel balls down a mine-shaft. They are observed to fall with inconstant acceleration, and the hypothesis seems to be falsified. But then it is found that the mine-shaft passes through magnetic rock and that this accounts for their aberrant behaviour. The hypothesis has survived the test: these steel balls were not freely falling bodies after all.
Progress and Rationality in Science by Gerard Radnitzky, Gunnar Andersson (auth.), Gerard Radnitzky, Gunnar Andersson (eds.)