III
Protocol or Basic Statements?

(A) THE PROBLEM-SITUATION

We have seen that by capturing what it is for a theory to be scientific, Popper rehabilitated metaphysics. Let us point out that Popper's criterion clearly weakens the constraint imposed on scientific hypotheses—from decidability to one-sided refutability. Hence any criticism leveled at the notion of falsifiability is tantamount to an attack on empiricism as a whole, whether it be of the neopositivist or of the Popperian kind. This is why I have decided to single out the hypothetico-deductivist scheme, namely H, p } q, or equivalently [H ⇒ (p→q)], as the expression of the very essence of rational empiricism; where: H is a scientific system, p a description of boundary conditions and q an observational prediction; it being understood that both p and q are decidable statements. It was therefore natural for any critique of this scheme to be directed at at least one of its three fundamental aspects; namely:

(i) the structure of the hypothesis H, which has given rise to problems
like those of Duhem-Quine, of the adjustment of parameters and of the dis-
tinction between analytic and synthetic propositions;

(ii) the nature of the inferential relation }; whence the question whether
a 'deviant' rather than classical logic might not be more appropriate for
dealing with empirical theories;

(iii) the status of the statement (p → q), or rather of its negation (p⋀¬q);
whence the problem of the reliability of the empirical basis.

In this section we shall start by addressing the third problem, namely that posed by the status of the empirical basis. We have just seen that a hypothesis H is to be considered scientific iff it is refutable by a so-called basic statement b; i.e. iff H ⇒ ¬b, where: b is of the form b ≡ (p⋀¬q), p describes some initial conditions and q expresses a prediction. Should H be

-29-

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