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Ad hoc hypothesis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


In science and philosophy, an ad hoc hypothesis is a hypothesis added to a theory in order to save it from being falsified.

For example, a person that wants to believe in leprechauns can avoid ever being proven wrong by using ad hoc hypotheses (e.g., by adding "they are invisible", then "their motives are complex", and so on).[1]

Often, ad hoc hypothesizing is employed to compensate for anomalies not anticipated by the theory in its unmodified form.

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Transcription

In the scientific community

Scientists are often skeptical of theories that rely on frequent, unsupported adjustments to sustain them. This is because, if a theorist so chooses, there is no limit to the number of ad hoc hypotheses that they could add. Thus the theory becomes more and more complex, but is never falsified. This is often at a cost to the theory's predictive power, however.[1] Ad hoc hypotheses are often characteristic of pseudoscientific subjects.[2][better source needed]

Albert Einstein's addition of the cosmological constant to general relativity in order to allow a static universe was ad hoc. Although he later referred to it as his "greatest blunder", it may correspond to theories of dark energy.[3]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Stanovich, Keith E. (2007). How to Think Straight About Psychology. Boston: Pearson Education. Pages 19-33
  2. ^ Carroll, Robert T. "Ad hoc hypothesis." The Skeptic's Dictionary. 22 Jun. 2008 <http://skepdic.com/adhoc.html>.
  3. ^ Texas A&M University. "Einstein's Biggest Blunder? Dark Energy May Be Consistent With Cosmological Constant." ScienceDaily 28 November 2007. 22 June 2008 <https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071127142128.htm>.

External links


This page was last edited on 5 June 2024, at 22:39
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