Meaning of Falsificationism

What is Falsificationism:

Falsificationism is a epistemological doctrine applied to the sciences that proposes falsifiability as a criterion to distinguish what is science from what is not.

As such, it is a philosophical theory, the work of the methodologist. Karl Popperpostulated in 1934 in his work The logic of scientific inquiry.

Falsificationism holds that to verify a theory it is necessary to try to refute it by means of a counterexample. Why? Well, because the only way to corroborate the provisional validity of a theory is when it is not possible to refute it.

See also What is Epistemology?

From this point of view, no theory can be considered absolutely or definitively true, but still not refuted. Thus, the verification criterion of a theory will not be that of its verifiability, but that of its falsifiability.

Popper’s falsificationism also criticizes the principle of verifiability, which implies that, regardless of whether we have a lot of evidence to affirm something, that does not mean that we will not find evidence later that will overturn our previous observations.

An example typical to illustrate this is that of the crows. Just because all the crows we’ve seen so far are black doesn’t necessarily mean that they all are. On the other hand, when we come across one that is not, we can affirm that not all crows are black.

See also Scientific method.

Hence, the method of falsificationism proposes the advancement of the sciences by falsifying successive theories in order to, in this way, know what It is notto be closer and closer to what Yes it is.

Within methodological falsificationism there are two main streams:

  • naive falsificationismwhich is Popper’s initial theory, with his critique of the principle of verifiability and the consequent need for refutation as a form of validation, and
  • sophisticated counterfeitingwhich is the one developed late by Popper and criticized and reformulated by Imre Lakatos, according to which science does not advance only through the refutation of theories (since many scientific theories are born refuted), but with the scientific research program, which is a structure that serves as a guide for future research.
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etymologicallyfalsificationism is formed from the union of the noun falsification and the suffix -ism, indicating ‘doctrine’ or ‘system’. Falsification, for its part, is the ‘action of falsifying’, that is, refuting a hypothesis or theory on the basis of evidence or experiments. Originally, falsificationism was called by Popper as critical rationalism.

See also Research Methodology.