Falsifiability

Property of a theory/hypothesis/statement that can be logically contradicted by an empirical test

Thornton says that basic statements are statements that correspond to particular "observation-reports". He then gives Popper's definition of falsifiability:

"A theory is scientific if and only if it divides the class of basic statements into the following two non-empty sub-classes: (a) the class of all those basic statements with which it is inconsistent, or which it prohibits—this is the class of its potential falsifiers (i.e., those statements which, if true, falsify the whole theory), and (b) the class of those basic statements with which it is consistent, or which it permits (i.e., those statements which, if true, corroborate it, or bear it out)."

In his conclusion related to this criterion Judge Overton stated that

While anybody is free to approach a scientific inquiry in any fashion they choose, they cannot properly describe the methodology as scientific, if they start with the conclusion and refuse to change it regardless of the evidence developed during the course of the investigation.

William Overton, McLean v. Arkansas 1982, at the end of section IV. (C)Scientific methodology today is based on generating hypotheses and testing them to see if they can be falsified; indeed, this methodology is what distinguishes science from other fields of human inquiry.[T]he statements constituting a scientific explanation must be capable of empirical test[T]he criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability

If a theory is falsified [in the usual sense], it is proven false; if it is 'falsified' [in the technical sense], it may still be true.

Section says that both Lakatos's and Popper's methodology are not inductive. Yet Lakatos's methodology extended importantly Popper's methodology: it added a historiographical component to it. This allowed Lakatos to find corroborations for his methodology in the history of science. The basic units in his methodology, which can be abandoned or pursued, are research programmes. Research programmes can be degenerative or progressive and only degenerative research programmes must be abandoned at some point. For Lakatos, this is mostly corroborated by facts in history.

In contradistinction, Popper did not propose his methodology as a tool to reconstruct the history of science. Yet, some times, he did refer to history to corroborate his methodology. For example, he remarked that theories that were considered great successes were also the most likely to be falsified. Zahar's view was that, with regard to corroborations found in the history of science, there was only a difference of emphasis between Popper and Lakatos.