> Falsifiability is part of Popper's philosophy of science, and most
> people consider it a good approach to testing a theory. The logical
> positivists were originally opposed to it because they had proposed
> verifiability as their criterion. But Popper merely pointed out that
> it is extremely difficult and, in most cases, impossible to show that
> a true hypothesis is absolutely true. However, it's much easier to
> show that a false one is false.
> > I was referring to 'falsifiability' as regarded by some as an
> > essential requirement for an experiment to be scientifically
> > and as totally absurd by others, especially in the light of quantum
> > theory, where the same conditions are likely never to be repeatable
> > in an experiment. I am interested opinions on falsifiability btw -
> Falsifiability is not a property of an experiment, but of a
> and it's just as applicable to quantum mechanics as it is to auto
> mechanics, cooking, or any other subject.
> The basic idea is very simple. Just take any sample hypothesis:
> All crows are black.
> To verify this statement, it would be necessary to check every crow
> that exists. If you miss a single one, it's conceivable that you
> overlooked the crucial crow that makes the statement false.
> But to show that the statement is false, you don't have to check
> every one. You can stop at the first crow that is not black.
> If many people search far and wide without finding a non-black
> crow, that gives some assurance that the hypothesis is fairly
> reliable. (But no empirical theory can be absolutely certain.)
> A theory that states probabilities, such as quantum mechanics,
> is no different in principle. QM, for example, might predict
> a probability distribution for some observation. To test it,
> just perform several experiments to see how close the observed
> values are to the expected distribution. If you repeatedly
> get a very different distribution, that shows the hypothesis
> is false (or perhaps, your equipment or procedure is bad).
> That is all there is to 'falsifiability'. It is just a rather
> obvious point. However, Popper went on to say that it provides
> a criterion for good science: A theory should be stated so
> precisely that it suggests easy experiments for testing whether
> the theory is false. If a lot of very knowledgeable people try
> as hard as they can to show it is false but fail, then the theory
> is fairly reliable.
> Quality control inspectors do the same thing for testing any kind
> of product, ranging from cars and computers to dresses and pies:
> search for possible flaws that would make it a bad example. If
> they can't find any, that doesn't prove there are no flaws, but
> it provides some assurance that it's fairly good.
> And by the way, Peirce made very similar remarks about 50 years
> before Popper, but he didn't use the word 'falsifiability'.
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> Paola Di Maio
> School of IT