Monday, April 4, 2016

Feser on Falsification

Ed Feser has written about falsification over at his blog. He mentions the Category Error that is attached to the use of falsification for metaphysical claims. Claims that do not have physical objects which can be addressed by (voluntarily materialist) empiricism, are both not empirically falsifiable, and not testable as materialist claims.

But there are two aspects of falsification which are oddly left out: 1) the inductive nature of all empirical science, including falsification; and 2) the ability to falsify deductive logic using Reductio Ad Absurdum, proper grounding of the argument in first principles, proper form of the deduction, and validity of premises.

Empirical falsification is fragile because even a falsifying experiment can be reversed by subsequent testing. This is the nature of serial induction, which applies to all empirical, experimental results: they might be overturned at a later date - even a falsification.

When a deductive argument is properly falsified, it will remain falsified because improper logic cannot be cosmetically fixed-up to appear proper. A new argument is required.

There are only two approaches to the pursuit of Truth: a) objective knowledge of physical existence is contingently provided by empiricism; b) deductive knowledge is granted truth status if it passes the tests listed above. So deduction which passes testing is actually more valid than empirical findings, because more issues can be approached, tested for validity, and thus granted or denied truth status. And it should be recalled that empiricism involves deduction of the consequences of a material theory, and the consequences can be tested materially to determine the value of the deduced hypothesis.

H/T: Robert Coble

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