Lakatos' Sophisticated Methodological Falsificationism

Lakatos' philosophy of science starts from a simple yet profound premise--not that there is knowledge, but that there is growth of knowledge--and attempts to specify systematically why this premise should be true. He envisions a healthy research program positively swimming in anomalies (observations that contradict theory). All theories are born false, but some are better than others in that they both account for all the old results and predict new ones. A theory cannot be rejected on the basis of observation unless a superior alternative theory exists. A succession of such theories is called a research program.

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Last modified March 1998
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