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By Carl G. Hempel


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An analogous comment applies, of course, to our definition of an observation report as a class or a conjunction of observation sentences. The need for this broad conception o f observation sentences and observation reports is readily recognized: Confirmation as here conceived is a logical relationship between sentences, just as logical consequence is. Now whether a sentence S2is a consequence of a sentence Sx does not depend on whether or not Sx is true (or known to be true); and analogously, the criteria of whether a given statement, expressed in terms of the observational vocabulary, confirms a certain hypothesis cannot depend on whether the statements in the report are true, or based on actual experience, or the like.

Hence, falsification is a special case of disconfirmation; it is the logical relation of incompatibility between sentences, with its domain restricted to observation sentences. Clearly, the concepts of verification andfalsification as here defined are relative; a hypothesis can be said to be verified or falsified only with respect to some ob­ servation report; and a hypothesis may be verified by one observation report and may not be verified by another. There are, however, hypotheses which cannot be verified and others which cannot be falsified by any observation report.

1) is unconditionally satisfied. An analogous remark applies to the subsequently proposed further standards of adequacy. Second, an observation report which confirms certain hypotheses would invariably be qualified as confirming any consequence of those hypotheses. Indeed: any such consequence is but an assertion of all or part of the combined content of the original hypotheses and has therefore to be regarded as confirmed by any evidence which confirms all of the latter. 2) C onsequence C ondition.

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