The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 5, 2007

Logic and Philosophy of the Sciences

Mehmet Elgin
Pages 101-106

Falsificationism Revisited

Much ink has been spent on Popper's falsificationism. Why, then, am I writing another paper on this subject? This paper is neither a new kind of criticism nor a new kind of defense of falsificationism. Recent debate about the legitimacy of adaptationism among biologists centers on the question of whether Popper's falsificationism or Lakatos' methodology of scientific research programs (SRP) is adequate in understanding science. S. Jay Gould and Richard C. Lewontin (1978) argue that adaptationism is unfalsifiable since it easily invites ad hoc adjustments when it makes false predictions. William A. Mitchell and Thomas J. Valone (1990) argue that adaptationism is a research program, and that the charge of falsifiability does not apply to a research program. Although both sides make use of the theories of scientific methodology proposed by Karl R. Popper (1934, 1957, 1963, 1971) and Imre Lakatos (1965, 1974, 1978), the differences and the similarities between these philosophers are overlooked. The purpose of the present paper is to explicate the differences and the similarities between the two philosophies of science.