Can a scientific theory ever be confirmed? https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/should-we-trust-a-theory
Must a scientific theory be falsifiable? These are deep questions that have fascinated philosophers from David Hume to Karl Popper, and continue to be at the core of scientific reasoning. Theories such as that of the multiverse or almost all string theories make no empirically verifiable predictions. Does this move them into the realm of metaphysics, or even quasiscience? Modern philosophers of science have moved on beyond the notion of falsifiability. They refer to the old school who believed in empirical testing of scientific theories as the Popperazzi. Now one applies statistical inference, pioneered by Reverend Thomas Bayes in the 19th century, to infer the likelihood that a theory is correct. Philosophers argue that while one can never prove that a theory of the universe is correct, one can increase the level confidence in the theory even without any empirical tests, if the theory satisfies certain conditions that I will explain. In this way one can provide non-empirical support for string theory and even the theory of the multiverse.
The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website: https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/should-we-trust-a-theory
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