Running head: FALSIFIABILITY Falsifiability Paula Weldon University of Phoenix Falsifiability Concept Karl Popper defined falsifiability as the innate sample of a scientific hypothesis, yet in the simplest form falsifiability is a belief; a belief that in order for a hypothesis to have credibility, it must be disconfirmed before deemed as scientific evidence ( Stanovich, 2010). Take for instance scientists who question others about God; “Does he exist? Is he real? ” This is a theory that can’t be discredited so it also cannot be labeled as science.
While the idea of no theory being absolute is something to ponder, if the theory is not falsified it must then be truth. The theory of gravity in past time was thought to be solid due to reasoning that objects do not float away haphazardly from the earth’s foundation. Even though research and procedures were fitting to this theory, testing was performed at any given time. Because of later research proving that Newton’s laws could be broken down the theory of gravity is now unaccepted as a truth.
Popper addressed falsifiability as black and white; this meaning that if a theory is proven as falsifiable it is deemed scientific and if it cannot be proven falsifiable it cannot be scientific. According to Popper, there exist many areas of applied science; social science being one and is not scientific because the possibility for falsification does not exist( Pozzo, 2009). For many sciences falsifiability is useful for producing theories available to sample. When a theory which is falsifiable is tested with meaningful results, this proves the theory as a scientific truth.
Of course there are both advantages and disadvantages to Popper’s idea; the advantage is when additional knowledge and resources are available truths may be falsified. A huge disadvantage is that sciences of today are judgmental and factually grounded and at the least-strict. Falsifiability to the empirical nature of science Falsifiable is a whole new meaning next to verifiable; an assertion for instance is empirically verifiable if feasible awareness comments reasonably suggest truth of the assertion. If by chance factual observation comments do suggest the assertion, it becomes verified.
According to Popper, something (as a discipline) that is not a science entails pseudoscience; pseudoscience would include psychology and different views of Sigmund Freud, metaphysics, and Marxism. A majority of issues dealing with science are grounded in metaphysics, yet to be labeled scientific claims need be empirical risks. Falsifiability is yet the enduring rank for Popper. Testing does not exist to prove a hypothesis or credible because it will always be speculative. Knowledge unfortunately has no definite establishment.
Popper claims that disproof shows the possibility of one learning by experience instead of factual knowledge. In earlier times empiricism was likened to inductivism. (Scientific research proceeds from observations to theories)(Pozzo, 2009). Popper immediately jumped on this by defending his notion that individuals must reach ideas by gathering facts and ascertaining ongoing patterns in them. According to others, nature has a way to speak for herself. Popper argued that first individuals must offer a proposition to get the problem solved. Next individuals must test the proposition-attempting to falsify it.
The proposition tells whether observations are even pertinent; just opposite to what inductivists think, there is no relevance when it comes to discovering something-just the logistics of performing the test. Claims cannot be verified as already stated in this paper, but can be falsified. Popper came to his own agreement that to find truth one must eliminate misconception. Reaching error such as in defective hypotheses’ cannot be considered wrong (Pozzo, 2009). As a matter of fact, errors are necessary for science to continue. Individuals learn from their mistakes!
Falsifiability and the discipline of Psychology In the world of psychology, theories have to be tested to determine if they are true. The way scientists make sure they are dealing with testable theories is by ensuring their theories are falsifiable; what this means is they have suggestions for genuine happenings in a natural surrounding (Stanovich, 2010). When scientists formulate hypothesis, they have to be stated in a way that permits a statement to be false. Strategies then used to evaluate the theory as a result has to take into account the possibility that data retrieved will prove the theory as false.
This is known as the Falsifiability criterion. Predictions defined by the Falsifiability criterion have to be distinct when describing what can happen, and has to describe what can not happen. When the prognosis of what can not happen, does indeed happen there poses a problem with the theory. The theory will next be changed or a new theory will develop. The result of this is that the new theory will be more positive or closer to the truth (Stanovich, 2007). Successful theories are ones which do not account for every prospect. If they did, they would be unable to change and there would be no prospect of advancement whatsoever.
Why is falsifiability important to psychology? Falsifiability can make a theory prosperous but alongside other factors; for example when theory is in-depth with clues or forecasts that go against social norms and compel individuals to think on specific ideas of ways they normally would not think on. This thinking will permit those in research to ponder on newer ways to treat. When a hypothesis is deemed falsified, a new or modernized theory is developed, but when the hypothesis is intensely specific it conveys the truth much closer to the researcher. Non-Falsifiable Psychological Theory Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Rush was one of the endorsers on the Declaration of Independence as well as a prominent doctor in Philadelphia. In 1793 yellow fever broke lose and Rush was among those treating patients. Rush supported the theory which specified illnesses in association with fever needed treatment via blood transfusion. According to Stanovich (2001), Rush dispensed the treatment to a majority of his patients; he administered the treatment to himself also when he contacted the illness. Rush’s technique was not without criticism however; many argued the treatments were more life threatening than having the illness itself.
Rush’s confidence in the effectiveness of his treatment method however remained solid opposed to the several patients of his that passed away from the illness. In Rush’s case, one would have to assume that his attitude along with confidence in his medical treatment played a major part of the scenario. If the patient were to survive the illness the blood transfusions worked; when the opposite occurred the patient was far too sick to try any source of treatment. Because Rush failed to determine the outcome of his treatment method and evaluate evidence provided, he simply made it near impossible to falsify his theory.
Falsifiable Psychological Theory Newton’s Theory of Gravity Isaac Newton was affixed on the fact that gravitational force caused an apple to fall from a tree; in his mindset, this same force keeps the earth’s motion from carrying it away from the sun. His gravitational force theory was based on the moon orbiting the earth the same way that the planets orbit the sun. In his thinking Newton decided the earth’s force on the apple which fell, the earth’s force on the moon, and the sun’s force on the planets basically are the same forces.
Unfortunately because Newton’s laws all break down to other laws, his theory was deemed falsifiable. References Pozzo, R. (2009). “Keuth, Herbert. The Philosophy of Karl Popper. ” The Review of Metaphysics 62. 4: 934+. General OneFile. Retrieved from UOP Library Web. 22 Aug. 2010. Stanovich, K. (2001). How to think straight about psychology (6th ed). Boston: Pearson/Allyn Bacon. Stanovich, K. (2010). How to think straight about psychology (9th ed). Boston: Pearson/Allyn Bacon.