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Relevance Logic Brings Hope to Hypothetico-Deductivism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 April 2022

C. Kenneth Waters*
Affiliation:
Department of Philosophy, Rice University

Abstract

Clark Glymour has argued that hypothetico-deductivism, which many take to be an important method of scientific confirmation, is hopeless because it cannot be reconstructed in classical logic. Such reconstructions, as Glymour points out, fail to uphold the condition of relevance between theory and evidence. I argue that the source of the irrelevant confirmations licensed by these reconstructions lies not with hypothetico-deductivism itself, but with the classical logic in which it is typically reconstructed. I present a new reconstruction of hypothetico-deductivism in relevance logic that does maintain the condition of relevance between theory and evidence. Hence, if hypothetico-deductivism is an important rationale in science, we have good reason to believe that the logic underlying scientific discourse is captured better by relevance logic than by its classical counterpart.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © 1987 by the Philosophy of Science Association

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Footnotes

I would like to thank Mike Dunn for introducing me to relevance logic and for offering helpful comments and encouragement.

References

Dunn, J. M. (1986), “Relevance Logic”, in Gabboy, D. M. and Guenthner, F. (eds.), Handbook of Philosophical Logic, Volume III: Alternatives to Classical Logic. Dordrecht: D. Reidel Publishing Company, pp. 117–224.Google Scholar
Giere, R. N. (1984), “Testing Theoretical Hypothesis”, in Earman, J. (ed.), Testing Scientific Hypothesis: Minnesota Studies in Philosophy of Science, vol. X. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 269–298.Google Scholar
Glymour, C. (1980a), Theory and Evidence. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Glymour, C. (1980b), “Hypothetico-Deductivism is Hopeless”, Philosophy of Science 47: 322–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lewis, D. (1973), Counterfactuals. London: William Clowes and Sons Ltd.Google Scholar
Merrill, G. H. (1979), “Confirmation and Prediction”, Philosophy of Science 46: 98117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Meyer, R. K. and Dunn, J. M. (1969), “E, R, and γ”, The Journal of Symbolic Logic 34: 460–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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