The Hypothetico-Deductive Model of Scientific Theories: A Sympathetic Disclaimer

  • Graham Solomon
Part of the The Western Ontario Series in Philosophy of Science book series (WONS, volume 65)


The major philosophical points I wish to make in this essay are not fully original, although I hope that what I have to say makes a coherent and persuasive whole. I shall be discussing a predominating philosophy of science that has held the field against most other systematic philosophies of science for at least five decades. Sometimes this philosophy has been called “Neo-Positivism,” (in part to distinguish it from the nineteenth-century positivism of Comte) sometimes, “Logical Empiricism.” It shares much with the early “Logical Positivism” of Schlick and other members of the Vienna Circle — a sophisticated philosophical position not to be confused with the positivism of Ayer’s shallow Language, Truth and Logic — but for many advocates the historical roots lie elsewhere. The labels are not that important, especially since every essential ingredient of the philosophy of science I shall be discussing is to be found in much earlier, diverse philosophies. It is important, however, to pause and consider this historical situation. There are many twentieth-century philosophers who think that philosophy is an autonomous discipline whose history can be ignored; some contemporary philosophers regard philosophy of science as having come into existence only in this century, or maybe in the late nineteenth century.


Scientific Theory Empirical Content Universal Generalization Sentential Theory Observation Sentence 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham Solomon
    • 1
  1. 1.Wilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada

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