Carnap versus Popper: What scientists actually do (pages 131-139)

Miguel López ASTORGA

ABSTRACT: Carnap and Popper proposed ways scientists have to work. According to Carnap, they should look for confirmations for hypotheses. In Popper’s view, what is important is to try to falsify hypotheses. Cognitive science seems to prove that, in real scientific research, both activities play a role. First, people attempt to confirm hypotheses. Second, they seek examples refuting those hypotheses. This paper is intended to show that the theory of mental models can describe the mental processes involved in both tasks: confirmation and falsification. It addresses the mental possibilities individuals consider in both cases. In addition, the paper reveals that, in accordance with both Carnap’s framework and Popper’s approach, both mental activities are related to conditional reasoning.

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