Foundations of Science

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 275–286 | Cite as

Falsificationism Falsified

  • Sven Ove HanssonEmail author


A conceptual analysis of falsificationism is performed, in which the central falsificationist thesis is divided into several components. Furthermore, an empirical study of falsification in science is reported, based on the 70 scientific contributions that were published as articles in Nature in 2000. Only one of these articles conformed to the falsificationist recipe for successful science, namely the falsification of a hypothesis that is more accessible to falsification than to verification. It is argued that falsificationism relies on an incorrect view of the nature of scientific inquiry and that it is, therefore, not a tenable research methodology.


falsification falsificationism verification hypothesis testing explorative research Karl Popper 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Altamirano, M.M., Blackburn, J.M., Aguayo, C., Fersht, A.R. 2000Directed Evolution of New Catalytic Activity Using the α/β-Barrel ScaffoldNature403617622CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boyd, P.W.,  et al. 2000A Mesoscale Phytoplankton Bloom in the Polar Southern Ocean Stimulated by Iron FertilizationNature407695702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brenner, R.,  et al. 2000Vasoregulation by the β1 Subunit of the Calcium-Activated Potassium ChannelNature407870876CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Darling, K.F.,  et al. 2000Molecular Evidence for Genetic Mixing of Arctic and Antarctic Subpolar Populations of Planktonic ForaminifersNature4054347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Eiderfield, H., Rickaby, R.E.M. 2000Oceanic Cd/P Ratio and Nutrient Utilization in the Glacial Southern OceanNature405305310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Engstrom, D.R., Fritz, S.C., Almendinger, J.E., Juggins, S. 2000Chemical and Biological Trends During Lake Evolution in Recently Deglaciated TerrainNature408161166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hyde, W.T., Crowley, T.J., Baum, S.K., Peltier, W.R. 2000Neoproterozoic ‘Snowball Earth’ Simulations with a Coupled Climate/Ice-Sheet ModelNature405425429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lasorella, A., Noseda, M., Beyna, M., Iavarone, A. 2000Id2 is a Retinoblastoma Protein Target and Mediates Signalling by Myc OncoproteinsNature407592598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Lee, K.J., Dietrich, P., Jessell, T.M. 2000Genetic Ablation Reveals that Roof Plate is Essential for Dorsal Interneuron SpecificationNature403734740CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Liu, F.,  et al. 2000Direct Protein–Protein Coupling Enables Cross-talk Between Dopamin D5 and γ-Aminobutyric Acid A ReceptorsNature403274280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. McNew, J.A.,  et al. 2000Compartmental Specificity of Cellular Membrane Fusion Encoded in SNARE ProteinsNature407153159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mook, H.A., Dai, P., Dogan, F., Hunt, R.D. 2000One-dimensional Nature of the Magnetic Fluctuations in YBa2Cu3O6.6 Nature404729731CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mushotzky, R.F., Cowie, L.L., Barger, A.J., Arnaud, K.A. 2000Resolving the Extragalactic Hard X-ray BackgroundNature404459464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Nagel, E. 1979Teleology Revisited and Other Essays in the Philosophy and History of ScienceColumbia University PressNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Niemela, J.J., Skrbek, L., Sreenivasan, K.R., Donnelly, R.J. 2000Turbulent Convection at Very High Rayleigh NumbersNature404837840CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Polleux, F., Morrow, T., Ghosh, A. 2000Semaphorin 3A is a Chemoattractant for Cortical Apical DendritesNature404567573CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Popper, K.R. 1963Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific KnowledgeBasic BooksNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  18. Popper, K.R. 1980The Logic of Scientific DiscoveryThe Anchor PressTiptreeGoogle Scholar
  19. Rubin, K.H., Fletcher, C.H.,III, Sherman, C. 2000Fossiliferous Lana’i Deposits Formed by Multiple Events Rather than a Single Giant TsunamiNature408675681CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Saxena, S.S.,  et al. 2000Superconductivity on the Border of Itinerant-electron Ferromagnetism in UGe2 Nature406587592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Schön, J.H., Kloc, C., Batlogg,  2000Superconductivity at 52K in Hole-doped C60 Nature408549552CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sharma, J., Angelucci, A., Sur, M. 2000Induction of Visual Orientation Modules in Auditory CortexNature404841847CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Spence, K. 2000Ancient Egyptian Chronology and the Astronomical Orientation of the PyramidsNature408320324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Srianand, R., Petitjean, P., Ledoux, C. 2000The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation Temperature at a Redshift of 2.34Nature408931935CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. True, N.L., Lindquist, S.L. 2000A Yeast Prion Provides a Mechanism for Genetic Variation and Phenotypic DiversityNature407477483CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and the History of TechnologyRoyal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden

Personalised recommendations