Why science is not a game of chance

29 Jan, 2019 at 15:54 | Posted in Theory of Science & Methodology | Comments Off on Why science is not a game of chance

cohenIf human scientists could be supposed to play a system of analogous games of chance … the evidential support available for successful scientific hypotheses could be measured by a Pascalian probability-function … But unfortunately the analogy breaks down at several points. The number of co-ordinate alternative outcomes​ that are possible in any one trial of the issue investigated may be infinite, indeterminate, or at least unknowable … And even more importantly, the trial outcomes may not be independent of one another … In short, science is not a game of chance with Nature, and we can grade enumerative induction by an indifference-type Pascalian probability only when we are generalizing about outcomes over a selected finite set of trials in a supposedly genuine game of chance.

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