Aspects of Scientific Explanation and Other Essays in the by Carl G. Hempel

By Carl G. Hempel


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Nelson Goodman. 3), lends itself, however, to certain generalizations which satisfy only the more liberal conditions of adequacy just considered. Studies itt the Logic of Confirmation [35] On the other hand, the soundness of the logical analysis (which, in a clear sense, always involves a logical reconstruction) of a theoretical concept cannot be gauged simply by our feelings of satisfaction at a certain proposed analysis; and if there are, say, two alternative proposals for defining a term on the basis of a logical analysis, and if both appear to come fairly close to the intended meaning, then the choice has to be made largely by reference to such features as the logical properties of the two reconstructions, and the comprehensiveness and simplicity of the theories to which they lead.

3) and their consequences. 46 46. For these proofs, sec the article referred to in note 1. I should like to take this oppor­ tunity to point out and to remedy a certain defect of the definition of confirmation which was (contimud ooerUaf) [38] CONFIRMATION, INDUCTION, AND RATIONAL BELIEF Furthermore, the application of the above definition of confirmation is not restricted to hypotheses of universal conditional form (as Nicod’s criterion is, for example), nor to universal hypotheses in general; it applies, in fact, to any hypothesis which can be expressed by means o f property and relation terms of the observational vocabulary of the given language, individual names, the customary connective symbols for ‘not’, ‘and’, ‘or*, ‘if-then’, and any number ol universal and existential quantifiers.

Consider the simple case of the hypothesis H: ‘(x)(Raven(x) 3 Black(x))’, where ‘Raven’ and ‘Black’ are supposed to be terms of our observational vocab­ ulary. Let B be an observation report to the effect that Raven (a) • Black (d) • ^ Raven(c) • Black(c) •^ Raven(d) • ~ Black(d). e. 45 In other words, from the information contained in B we can infer that the hypothesis H does hold true within the finite class of those objects which are mentioned in B. Let us apply the same consideration to a hypothesis of a logically more complex structure.

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