Journal Article

Verisimilitude: The Third Period

Ilkka Niiniluoto

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 49, issue 1, pages 1-29
Published in print March 1998 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online March 1998 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/49.1.1
Verisimilitude: The Third Period

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The modern history of verisimilitude can be divided into three periods. The first began in 1960, when Karl Popper proposed his qualitative definition of what it is for one theory to be more truthlike than another theory, and lasted until 1974, when David Miller and Pavel Trichý published their refutation of Popper's definition. The second period started immediately with the attempt to explicate truthlikeness by means of relations of similarity or resemblance between states of affairs (or their linguistic representations); the work within this similarity approach was summarized in the books of Graham Oddie [1986] and Ilkka Niiniluoto [1987]. During the subsequent third period, studies in verisimilitude have been actively continued, and interesting results and applications have been achieved, but not many dramatic novelties. While it is now obsolete to claim that truthlikeness with reasonable properties cannot be defined at all, there is still a lot of controversy about the best and least arbitrary approach to doing this.

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Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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