Hypothetico-Deductive Confirmation



Hypothetico-deductive (H-D) confirmation builds on the idea that confirming evidence consists of successful predictions that deductively follow from the hypothesis under test. This article reviews scope, history and recent development of the venerable H-D account: First, we motivate the approach and clarify its relationship to Bayesian confirmation theory. Second, we explain and discuss the tacking paradoxes which exploit the fact that H-D confirmation gives no account of evidential relevance. Third, we review several recent proposals that aim at a sound and more comprehensive formulation of H-D confirmation. Finally, we conclude that the reputation of H-D confirmation as outdated and hopeless is undeserved: not only can the technical problems be addressed satisfactorily, the H-D method is also highly relevant for scientific practice.