A statement, hypothesis, or theory has falsifiability if it is contradicted by a basic statement, which, in an eventual successful or failed falsification, must correspond to a true or hypothetical observation. For example, the claim "all swans are white and have always been white" is falsifiable since it is contradicted by this basic statement: "In 1697, during the Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh expedition, there were black swans on the shore of the Swan River in Australia", which in this case is a true observation; the concept is known by the terms refutable and refutability. The concept was introduced by the philosopher of science Karl Popper, he saw falsifiability as the logical part and the cornerstone of his scientific epistemology, which sets the limits of scientific inquiry. He proposed that theories that are not falsifiable are unscientific. Declaring an unfalsifiable theory to be scientific would be pseudoscience; the classical view of the philosophy of science is that it is the goal of science to prove hypotheses like "All swans are white" or to induce them from observational data.
The Inductivist methodology supposes that one can somehow move from a series of statements such as'here is a white swan','over there is a white swan', so on, to a universal statement such as'all swans are white'. As observed by David Hume, Immanuel Kant and by Popper and others, this method is deductively invalid, since it is always possible that there may be a non-white swan that has eluded observation; this is known as the problem of induction. One solution to the problem of induction, proposed by Immanuel Kant in Critique of Pure Reason, is to consider as valid a priori, the conclusions that we would otherwise have drawn from these dubious inferential inductions. Following Kant, Popper accepted that we have to work with unproven hypotheses, but he refused that we have to justify them in any way and he wrote: "I do not think that his ingenious attempt to provide an a priori justification for synthetic statements was successful." However, if one finds one single swan, not white, deductive logic admits the conclusion that the statement that all swans are white is false.
Falsificationism thus strives for questioning, for falsification, of hypotheses instead of proving them or trying to view them as valid in any way. For a statement to be questioned using observation, it needs to be at least theoretically possible that it can come into conflict with observation. A key observation of falsificationism is thus that a criterion of demarcation is needed to distinguish those statements that can come into conflict with observation and those that cannot, but the criterion itself concerns only the logical form of the theory: I shall require that logical form shall be such that it can be singled out, by means of empirical tests, in a negative sense: it must be possible for an empirical scientific system to be refuted by experience. Popper always insisted on a clear distinction between the logic and its applied less precise methodology; the required logical form, the criterion, is that there must exist basic statements that contradict the theory. This logical form informally implies the possibility of refutations by experience because, in its informal methodological context, a basic statement must be intersubjective and interpretable in terms of observations.
Objections can be raised against falsifiability as a criterion of demarcation similar to those which can be raised against verifiability. For example, as pointed out by many and reformulated by Colin McGinn, e have to be able to infer that if a falsifying result has been found in a given experiment it will be found in future experiments. Early, in anticipation of this specific objection Popper wrote, This attack would not disturb me. My proposal is based upon an asymmetry between falsifiability. For these are never derivable from singular statements, but can be contradicted by singular statements. In its simple form, the point here is that although a singular existential statement such as'there is a white swan in Europe' cannot be used to affirm a universal statement, it can be used to show that one is false: the statement'there is a non white swan in Australia' implies that the universal statement'all swans are white' is false. Moreover, this singular existential statement is empirical: it is impractical to observe all the swans in the world to verify that they are all white, but one can observe one swan, not white.
This shows the fundamental difference between falsifiability. In the logical form of the theory, there is no notion of future experiments, but only a class of basic statements that contradict it; such a simple contradiction with a basic statement is not. A falsification entails a derivation from a system of statements, which include the universal statement and initial conditions, to a singular statement, contradicted by a falsifying hypothesis, but the argument can be generalized. Popper explains "... it is possible by means of purely deductive inferences to argue from the truth of singular statements to the falsity of universal statements. Such an argument to the falsity of universal statements is the only deductive kind of inference that proceeds, as it were, in the ‘inducti
Positivism is a philosophical theory stating that certain knowledge is based on natural phenomena and their properties and relations. Thus, information derived from sensory experience, interpreted through reason and logic, forms the exclusive source of all certain knowledge. Positivism holds. Verified data received from the senses are known as empirical evidence. Positivism holds that society, like the physical world, operates according to general laws. Introspective and intuitive knowledge is rejected, as are metaphysics and theology because metaphysical and theological claims cannot be verified by sense experience. Although the positivist approach has been a recurrent theme in the history of western thought, the modern approach was formulated by the philosopher Auguste Comte in the early 19th century. Comte argued that, much as the physical world operates according to gravity and other absolute laws, so does society, further developed positivism into a Religion of Humanity; the English noun positivism was re-imported in the 19th century from the French word positivisme, derived from positif in its philosophical sense of'imposed on the mind by experience'.
The corresponding adjective has been used in a similar sense to discuss law since the time of Chaucer. Positivism is part of a more general ancient quarrel between philosophy and poetry, notably laid out by Plato and reformulated as a quarrel between the sciences and the humanities, Plato elaborates a critique of poetry from the point of view of philosophy in his dialogues Phaedrus 245a, Symposium 209a, Republic 398a, Laws 817 b-d and Ion. Wilhelm Dilthey popularized the distinction between Geisteswissenschaft and Naturwissenschaften; the consideration that laws in physics may not be absolute but relative, and, if so, this might be more true of social sciences, was stated, in different terms, by G. B. Vico in 1725. Vico, in contrast to the positivist movement, asserted the superiority of the science of the human mind, on the grounds that natural sciences tell us nothing about the inward aspects of things. Positivism asserts that all authentic knowledge allows verification and that all authentic knowledge assumes that the only valid knowledge is scientific.
Thinkers such as Henri de Saint-Simon, Pierre-Simon Laplace and Auguste Comte believed the scientific method, the circular dependence of theory and observation, must replace metaphysics in the history of thought. Émile Durkheim reformulated sociological positivism as a foundation of social research. Wilhelm Dilthey, in contrast, fought strenuously against the assumption that only explanations derived from science are valid, he reprised the argument found in Vico, that scientific explanations do not reach the inner nature of phenomena and it is humanistic knowledge that gives us insight into thoughts and desires. Dilthey was in part influenced by the historicism of Leopold von Ranke. At the turn of the 20th century the first wave of German sociologists, including Max Weber and Georg Simmel, rejected the doctrine, thus founding the antipositivist tradition in sociology. Antipositivists and critical theorists have associated positivism with "scientism". In his career, German theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg, Nobel laureate for pioneering work in quantum mechanics, distanced himself from positivism by saying: The positivists have a simple solution: the world must be divided into that which we can say and the rest, which we had better pass over in silence.
But can any one conceive of a more pointless philosophy, seeing that what we can say amounts to next to nothing? If we omitted all, unclear we would be left with uninteresting and trivial tautologies. In the early 20th century, logical positivism—a descendant of Comte's basic thesis but an independent movement—sprang up in Vienna and grew to become one of the dominant schools in Anglo-American philosophy and the analytic tradition. Logical positivists rejected metaphysical speculation and attempted to reduce statements and propositions to pure logic. Strong critiques of this approach by philosophers such as Karl Popper, Willard Van Orman Quine and Thomas Kuhn have been influential, led to the development of postpositivism. In historiography the debate on positivism has been characterized by the quarrel between positivism and historicism. Arguments against positivist approaches in historiography include that history differs from sciences like physics and ethology in subject matter and method.
That much of what history studies is nonquantifiable, therefore to quantify is to lose in precision. Experimental methods and mathematical models do not apply to history, it is not possible to formulate general laws in history. Positivism in the social sciences is characterized by quantitative approaches and the proposition of quasi-absolute laws. A significant exception to this trend is represented by cultural anthropology, which tends toward qualitative approaches. In psychology the positivist movement was influential in the development of operationalism; the 1927 philosophy of science book The Logic of Modern Physics in particular, intended for physicists, coined the term operational definition, which went on to dominate psychological method for the whole century. In economics, practising researc
Social science is a category of academic disciplines, concerned with society and the relationships among individuals within a society. Social science as a whole has many branches; these social sciences include, but are not limited to: anthropology, communication studies, history, human geography, linguistics, political science, public health, sociology. The term is sometimes used to refer to the field of sociology, the original "science of society", established in the 19th century. For a more detailed list of sub-disciplines within the social sciences see: Outline of social science. Positivist social scientists use methods resembling those of the natural sciences as tools for understanding society, so define science in its stricter modern sense. Interpretivist social scientists, by contrast, may use social critique or symbolic interpretation rather than constructing empirically falsifiable theories, thus treat science in its broader sense. In modern academic practice, researchers are eclectic, using multiple methodologies.
The term "social research" has acquired a degree of autonomy as practitioners from various disciplines share in its aims and methods. The history of the social sciences begins in the Age of Enlightenment after 1650, which saw a revolution within natural philosophy, changing the basic framework by which individuals understood what was "scientific". Social sciences came forth from the moral philosophy of the time and were influenced by the Age of Revolutions, such as the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution; the social sciences developed from the sciences, or the systematic knowledge-bases or prescriptive practices, relating to the social improvement of a group of interacting entities. The beginnings of the social sciences in the 18th century are reflected in the grand encyclopedia of Diderot, with articles from Jean-Jacques Rousseau and other pioneers; the growth of the social sciences is reflected in other specialized encyclopedias. The modern period saw "social science" first used as a distinct conceptual field.
Social science was influenced by positivism, focusing on knowledge based on actual positive sense experience and avoiding the negative. Auguste Comte used the term "science sociale" to describe the field, taken from the ideas of Charles Fourier. Following this period, there were five paths of development that sprang forth in the social sciences, influenced by Comte on other fields. One route, taken was the rise of social research. Large statistical surveys were undertaken in various parts of the United States and Europe. Another route undertaken was initiated by Émile Durkheim, studying "social facts", Vilfredo Pareto, opening metatheoretical ideas and individual theories. A third means developed, arising from the methodological dichotomy present, in which social phenomena were identified with and understood; the fourth route taken, based in economics, was developed and furthered economic knowledge as a hard science. The last path was the correlation of knowledge and social values. In this route and prescription were non-overlapping formal discussions of a subject.
Around the start of the 20th century, Enlightenment philosophy was challenged in various quarters. After the use of classical theories since the end of the scientific revolution, various fields substituted mathematics studies for experimental studies and examining equations to build a theoretical structure; the development of social science subfields became quantitative in methodology. The interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary nature of scientific inquiry into human behaviour and environmental factors affecting it, made many of the natural sciences interested in some aspects of social science methodology. Examples of boundary blurring include emerging disciplines like social research of medicine, neuropsychology and the history and sociology of science. Quantitative research and qualitative methods are being integrated in the study of human action and its implications and consequences. In the first half of the 20th century, statistics became a free-standing discipline of applied mathematics.
Statistical methods were used confidently. In the contemporary period, Karl Popper and Talcott Parsons influenced the furtherance of the social sciences. Researchers continue to search for a unified consensus on what methodology might have the power and refinement to connect a proposed "grand theory" with the various midrange theories that, with considerable success, continue to provide usable frameworks for massive, growing data banks; the social sciences will for the foreseeable future be composed of different zones in the research of, sometime distinct in approach toward, the field. The term "social science" may refer either to the specific sciences of society established by thinkers such as Comte, Durkheim and Weber, or more to all disciplines outside of "noble science" and arts. By the late 19th century, the academic social sciences were constituted of five fields: jurisprudence and amendment of the law, health and trade, art. Around the start of the 21st century, the expanding domain of economics in the social sciences has been described as economic imperialism.
The social science disciplines are branches of knowledge taught and researched at the college or university level. Social science disciplines are defined and rec
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, values, reason and language. Such questions are posed as problems to be studied or resolved; the term was coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will? "philosophy" encompassed any body of knowledge. From the time of Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle to the 19th century, "natural philosophy" encompassed astronomy and physics. For example, Newton's 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy became classified as a book of physics. In the 19th century, the growth of modern research universities led academic philosophy and other disciplines to professionalize and specialize.
In the modern era, some investigations that were traditionally part of philosophy became separate academic disciplines, including psychology, sociology and economics. Other investigations related to art, politics, or other pursuits remained part of philosophy. For example, is beauty objective or subjective? Are there many scientific methods or just one? Is political utopia a hopeful dream or hopeless fantasy? Major sub-fields of academic philosophy include metaphysics, ethics, political philosophy and philosophy of science. Traditionally, the term "philosophy" referred to any body of knowledge. In this sense, philosophy is related to religion, natural science and politics. Newton's 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy is classified in the 2000s as a book of physics. In the first part of the first book of his Academics, Cicero introduced the division of philosophy into logic and ethics. Metaphysical philosophy was the study of existence, God, logic and other abstract objects; this division has changed.
Natural philosophy has split into the various natural sciences astronomy, chemistry and cosmology. Moral philosophy still includes value theory. Metaphysical philosophy has birthed formal sciences such as logic and philosophy of science, but still includes epistemology and others. Many philosophical debates that began in ancient times are still debated today. Colin McGinn and others claim. Chalmers and others, by contrast, see progress in philosophy similar to that in science, while Talbot Brewer argued that "progress" is the wrong standard by which to judge philosophical activity. In one general sense, philosophy is associated with wisdom, intellectual culture and a search for knowledge. In that sense, all cultures and literate societies ask philosophical questions such as "how are we to live" and "what is the nature of reality". A broad and impartial conception of philosophy finds a reasoned inquiry into such matters as reality and life in all world civilizations. Western philosophy is the philosophical tradition of the Western world and dates to Pre-Socratic thinkers who were active in Ancient Greece in the 6th century BCE such as Thales and Pythagoras who practiced a "love of wisdom" and were termed physiologoi.
Socrates was a influential philosopher, who insisted that he possessed no wisdom but was a pursuer of wisdom. Western philosophy can be divided into three eras: Ancient, Medieval philosophy, Modern philosophy; the Ancient era was dominated by Greek philosophical schools which arose out of the various pupils of Socrates, such as Plato, who founded the Platonic Academy and his student Aristotle, founding the Peripatetic school, who were both influential in Western tradition. Other traditions include Cynicism, Greek Skepticism and Epicureanism. Important topics covered by the Greeks included metaphysics, the nature of the well-lived life, the possibility of knowledge and the nature of reason. With the rise of the Roman empire, Greek philosophy was increasingly discussed in Latin by Romans such as Cicero and Seneca. Medieval philosophy is the period following the fall of the Western Roman Empire and was dominated by the ris