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Testability and Candor

Roush, Sherrilyn (2005) Testability and Candor. Synthese, 145 (2). pp. 233-275. ISSN 1573-0964

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Abstract

On analogy with testimony, I define a notion of a scientific theory's lacking or having candor, in a testing situation, according to whether the theory under test is probabilistically relevant to the processes in the test procedures, and thereby to the reliability of test outcomes. I argue that this property identifies what is distinctive about those theories that Karl Popper denounced as exhibiting "reinforced dogmatism" through their self-protective behavior (e.g., psychoanalysis, Hegelianism, Marxism). I explore whether lack of candor interferes with the testing of theories, and conclude that (1) our default attitude toward theories that lack candor in a given test should be suspicion, but (2) the circumstance that a theory lacks candor in a testing situation does not preclude obtaining independent evidence for the auxiliary assumptions to which the theory is probabilistically relevant, and thereby eliminating the problem that lack of candor creates. Thus, Popper was right to think that lack of candor is a bad thing, but wrong to conclude that candor is a criterion of the scientificity of a theory. Seeing this requires recognition of some differences between intuitive relevance and probabilistic relevance, and proper appreciation of the notion of screening off and of the fact that probabilistic relevance is not transitive.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Roush, Sherrilynsherri.roush@gmail.com
Keywords: Probabilistic Relevance, Dogmatism, Independent Evidence, Auxiliary Assumptions
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > Structure of Theories
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Sherrilyn Roush
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2020 20:25
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2020 20:25
Item ID: 17390
Journal or Publication Title: Synthese
Publisher: Springer (Springer Science+Business Media B.V.)
Official URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/20118592?seq=1#metada...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/sl 1229-005-3748-1
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > Structure of Theories
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 2005
Page Range: pp. 233-275
Volume: 145
Number: 2
ISSN: 1573-0964
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17390

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