Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek

 C - Criterion - of Testability


Criterion of Testability: Rule to the effect that a statement or theory does not belong to empirical science if it does not have logical consequences that follow from it (and not from other theories) that cannot be compared with experience.

This criterion of testability tends to be used instead of either the criterion of verifiability and the criterion for falsifiability to mark off what does belong to science and to distinguish science from other attempts at explaining experience: A theory that can lay claim to being scientific must at least have some logical consequences that can be confronted with experience, for if it does not there is nothing to distinguish the theory from wishful thinking, ideology or religion. And indeed the experience it must be capable of being confronted with must be such as to be part of some scientific method, and to be objective, repeatable in principle, and impartial.

What one makes of this criterion of testability and what one does with it depends on the strength of one's scientific interests and concerns, but it is a useful reminder: A theory that cannot be confronted with experience in some objective way is a theory that does not differ in principle from fantasy, delusion or wishful thinking.


See also:


Carnap, Popper, Russell, Stegmüller

 Original: Mar 24, 2006                                                Last edited: 24 March 2006.   Top