Nicod's criterion

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Carl Gustav Hempel (1905—1997)


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A condition governing the confirmation of a general hypothesis by particular pieces of evidence, proposed by the French philosopher Jean Nicod (1893–1924) in his Foundations of Geometry and Induction (1930). It requires that an instance of a generalization that all As are B provides a positive, confirming piece of evidence for the generalization; evidence of something that is neither A nor B is irrelevant to it, as is evidence of something that is B but not A. The principle is put under pressure by Hempel's paradox, which apparently yields circumstances in which something that is neither A nor B may confirm the generalization.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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