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Keith Lehrer

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780198248507

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198248507.001.0001

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Coherence and the Hierarchy of Method

Coherence and the Hierarchy of Method

(p.185) 8 Coherence and the Hierarchy of Method

Keith Lehrer

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses a traditional theory of scientific method and presents what is considered to be a salient criticism. It also considers an alternative coherence theory of scientific method based on a hierarchy of evaluation. It shows that people do not need any basic observation-claims to occupy a special position in verification or falsification of scientific hypotheses and theories. The chapter claims that the acceptance of observation-reports and the rejection of conflicting theories is only one alternative, the maintenance of theories and rejection of the observation-reports being another, and that such decisions have a scientific basis. They are based on the assessment of probabilities and the probability of conflicting competing claims.

Keywords:   coherence, scientific method, hypotheses, theories, hierarchy, evaluation, probability, verification, rationality, convergence

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