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Carnap’s four tests

Carnap’s four tests

Carnap (1950) proposes four  tests to judge the significance of the new explicit knowledge derived through explication.  In summary these tests are:

  1. similarity:
    prima facie it should be obvious that the newly discovered explicit knowledge relates to and arises from the implicit knowledge which prompted the explication;
  2. exactness:
    by evidence and argumentation, it should be possible to relate the newly discovered or explicit knowledge within a “well-connected system of scientific concepts”;
  3. fruitfulness:
    the newly discovered or explicit knowledge should be “fruitful”, capable of offering new knowledge and insights valuable to science and to scientific progress;
  4. simplicity:
    the newly discovered or explicit knowledge should as simple as possible in support of the previous three tests.

Assuming the newly discovered knowledge passes all of these four tests, then it is possible to argue that the new knowledge has face validity and, subject to disaffirmation, a chance to be regarded as a significant contribution to knowledge.

Reference

Carnap, R. (1950). Logical foundations of probability, University of Chicago Press, Illinois.

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