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By Carl G. Hempel


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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.

In the above sketch of the structure of scientific prediction, we have disregarded the fact that in practically every case where a prediction is said to be obtained by means of a certain hypothesis or theory, a considerable body of auxiliary theories is used in addition. Thus, the prediction of observable effects of the deflection of light in the gravitational field of the sun on the basis of the general theory of relativity requires such auxiliary theories as mechanics and optics. But an explicit consideration of this fact would not affect our result that scientific predic­ tions, even when based on hypotheses or theories of universal form, still are not purely deductive in character, but involve quasi-inductive steps as well.

Thus, the satisfaction of the consequence condition entails that of our earlier equivalence condition, and the latter loses its status of an independent requirement. In view of the apparent obviousness of these conditions, it is interesting to note that the definition of confirmation in terms of successful prediction, while satisfying the equivalence condition, would violate the consequence condition. Consider, for example, the formulation of the prediction criterion given in the 38. As a consequence of this stipulation, a contradictory observation report, such as [Dlack(n), ^ Black(

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

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