more from J Baggini / PS Fosl

Single Idea 4644

[catalogued under 14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 6. Falsification]

Full Idea

The problem with falsification is that it fails to work with logically particular claims such as 'some swans are purple'. Examining a million swans and finding no purple ones does not falsify the claim, as there might still be a purple swan out there.

Gist of Idea

A proposition such as 'some swans are purple' cannot be falsified, only verified


J Baggini / PS Fosl (The Philosopher's Toolkit [2003], 3.29)

Book Reference

Baggini,J and Fosl,P.S.: 'The Philosopher's Toolkit' [Blackwells 2003], p.131

A Reaction

Isn't it beautiful how unease about a theory (Popper's) slowly crystallises into an incredibly simple and devastating point? Maybe 'some swans are purple' isn't science unless there is a good reason to propose it?