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Science’s methodological rules

Two simple examples of methodological rules may be given. They will suffice to show that it would be hardly suitable to place an inquiry into method on the same level as a purely logical inquiry.

(1) The game of science is, in principle, without end. He who decides one day that scientific statements do not call for any further test, and that they can be regarded as finally verified, retires from the game.

(2) Once a hypothesis has been proposed and tested, and has proved its mettle, it may not be allowed to drop out with­out ‘good reason’. A ‘good reason’ may be, for instance: replacement of the hypothesis by another which is better test­able; or the falsification of one of the consequences of the hypothesis. (The concept ‘better testable’ will later be ana­lysed more fully.) …

In establishing these rules we may proceed systematically. First a supreme rule is laid down which serves as a kind of norm for deciding upon the remaining rules, and which is thus a rule of a higher type. It is the rule which says that the other rules of scientific procedure must be designed in such a way that they do not protect any statement in science against falsification. [32-3]

1 comment

  1. PeterM says:

    Cf. Bronowski’s similar injunction.

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