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How Do You Falsify a Question?: Crucial Tests versus Crucial Demonstrations

Douglas Allchin
PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
Vol. 1992, Volume One: Contributed Papers (1992), pp. 74-88
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/192745
Page Count: 15
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How Do You Falsify a Question?: Crucial Tests versus Crucial Demonstrations
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Abstract

I highlight a category of experiment-what I am calling 'demonstrations'-that differs in justificatory mode and argumentative role from the more familiar 'crucial tests'. 'Tests' are constructed such that alternative results are equally and symmetrically informative; they help discriminate between alternative solutions within a problem-field, where questions are shared. 'Demonstrations' are notably asymmetrical (for example, "failures" are often not telling), yet they are effective, if not "crucial," in interparadigm dispute, to legitimate questions themselves. The Ox-Phos Controversy in bioenergetics serves as an integral case study.

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