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On a Contrastive Criterion of Testability I: Defining Contrastive Testability

Lutz, Sebastian (2011) On a Contrastive Criterion of Testability I: Defining Contrastive Testability. [Preprint]

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    Elliott Sober has suggested his contrastive criterion of testability as an improvement over previous criteria of empirical significance like falsifiability or a suggestion within Bayesianism. I argue that Sober’s criterion entails that if one group of people is justified in believing a claim, every group is, and that it tacitly relies on an inconsistent interpretation of probabilistic inequalities. Furthermore, the criterion’s restrictions on the use of auxiliary assumptions are in part redundant and in part unjustified. Most importantly, they are so weak that almost all theories can be contrastively tested. On the basis of these results, I suggest a modification of Sober’s criterion that avoids these problems without abandoning Sober’s core idea.

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    Item Type: Preprint
    Additional Information: Revised first half of "On Sober's Criterion of Contrastive Testability"
    Keywords: testability, empirical significance, falsifiability, likelihoodism, Bayesianism, auxiliary assumptions
    Subjects: General Issues > Science vs. Pseudoscience
    General Issues > Structure of Theories
    General Issues > Theory/Observation
    Depositing User: Sebastian Lutz
    Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2011 07:37
    Last Modified: 18 Apr 2011 07:37
    Item ID: 8574

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