The objectives of science
Philosophia Scientiae, Volume 11 (2007) no. 1, pp. 21-43.

Contesting the common opinion that, unlike the problem of induction, the problem of demarcation is of little significance, the paper maintains that Popper's criterion of falsifiability gives an irresistible answer to the question of what can be learnt from an empirical investigation. Everything follows from the rejection of inductive logic, together with the recognition that, before it can be empirically investigated, a hypothesis has to be formulated and accepted. Scientific hypotheses emerge neither a posteriori, as inductivists hold, nor from some immaculate a priori source, but from sheer guesswork. Empiricists who reject apriorism have therefore enlisted too zealously in the unphilosophical ranks of epistemological naturalism. The paper concludes with a summary of Popper's objectivism, and with brief responses to some fashionable arguments that objective truth is not an attainable objective.

Contestant l'opinion commune selon laquelle le problème de la démarcation, contrairement au problème de l'induction, est relativement anecdotique, l'article soutient que le critère poppérien de falsifiabilité donne une réponse irrésistible à la question de savoir ce qui peut être appris d'une investigation empirique. Tout découle du rejet de la logique inductive, joint à la reconnaissance du fait que, avant d'être investiguée, une hypothèse doit être formulée et acceptée. Les hypothèses scientifiques n'émergent ni a posteriori comme les inductivistes le soutiennent, ni de quelque immaculée source a priori : elles sont des conjectures pures et simples. Les empiristes qui rejettent l'apriorisme ont donc rejoint trop rapidement les rangs non philosophiques du naturalisme épistémologique. L'article conclut par un résumé de l'objectivisme popperien et par de brèves réponses à certains arguments à la mode selon lesquels la vérité objective n'est pas un objectif atteignable.

     author = {Miller, David},
     title = {The objectives of science},
     journal = {Philosophia Scientiae},
     pages = {21--43},
     publisher = {\'Editions Kim\'e},
     volume = {11},
     number = {1},
     year = {2007},
     language = {fr},
     url = {}
AU  - Miller, David
TI  - The objectives of science
JO  - Philosophia Scientiae
PY  - 2007
SP  - 21
EP  - 43
VL  - 11
IS  - 1
PB  - Éditions Kimé
UR  -
LA  - fr
ID  - PHSC_2007__11_1_21_0
ER  - 
%0 Journal Article
%A Miller, David
%T The objectives of science
%J Philosophia Scientiae
%D 2007
%P 21-43
%V 11
%N 1
%I Éditions Kimé
%G fr
%F PHSC_2007__11_1_21_0
Miller, David. The objectives of science. Philosophia Scientiae, Volume 11 (2007) no. 1, pp. 21-43.

[1] Haack, Susan 2005.- Trial and Error : The Supreme Court's Philosophy of Science, American Journal of Public Health 95 (S1) S66-S73. http :// ?url=/commonspot /security/getfile.cfm&PageID=2408/.

[2] Harris, John 1974.- Popper's Definitions of ‘Verisimilitude', The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 25 (2), 160-166. | Zbl

[3] Hume, David 1738.- A Treatise of Human Nature. Book I, Of the Understanding, London : John Noon. References are to the edition of D. G. C. Macnabb, London & Glasgow : Collins, 1962.

[4] Kim, Jaegwon 1988.- What is Naturalized Epistemology ?, Philosophical Perspectives 2 : Epistemology, James Tomberlin, ed., Atascadero : Ridgeview Publishing Company, 381-405.

[5] Kuhn, Thomas 1962.- The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago : University of Chicago Press. 2nd edition 1970.

[6] Mcginn, Colin 2002.- Looking for a Black Swan, The New York Review of Books, 21 November 2002, 46-50.

[7] Miller, David 1994.- Critical Rationalism. A Restatement and Defence, Chicago & La Salle : Open Court Publishing Company.

[8] Miller, David 1996.- What Use is Empirical Confirmation ?, Economics and Philosophy 12 (2), 197-206.

[9] Miller, David 1999a.- Popper and Tarski, Popper's Open Society After Fifty Years : the Continuing Relevance of Karl Popper, Ian Jarvie & Sandra Pralong, eds, London : Routledge, 56-70. Reprinted as Chapter 9 of [Miller 2006a].

[10] Miller, David 1999b.- Being an Absolute Skeptic, Science 284 (5420), 4 June 1999, 1625f. Reprinted as Chapter 7 of [Miller 2006a].

[11] Miller, David 2005.- Beauty, a Road to the Truth ?, Confirmation, Empirical Progress, and Truth Approximation, Roberto Festa, Atocha Aliseda, & Jeanne Peijnenburg, eds, Amsterdam/Atlanta : Rodopi B.V., 341-355. Reprinted as Chapter 10 of [Miller 2006a].

[12] Miller, David 2006a.- Out of Error. Further Essays on Critical Rationalism, Aldershot : Ashgate.

[13] Miller, David 2006b.- Darwinism is the Application of Situational Logic to the State of Ignorance, Ian Jarvie, Karl Milford, & David Miller, eds, Karl Popper : A Centenary Assessment. Volume III : Science, Aldershot : Ashgate, 155-162.

[14] Moore, Walter 1989.- Schrödinger. Life and Thought, Cambridge, New York, & Oakleigh : Cambridge University Press. | Zbl

[15] O'Hear, Anthony 1985.- Popper and the Philosophy of Science, New Scientist, 22 August 1985, 43-45.

[16] Okasha, Samir 2002.- Philosophy of Science : A Very Short Introduction, Oxford : Oxford University Press.

[17] Popper, Karl 1934.- Logik der Forschung, Vienna : Julius Springer Verlag. 10th edition, Tübingen : J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck). Popper's own translation [Popper 1959] has been used in quotations. | MR

[18] Popper, Karl 1945.- The Open Society and Its Enemies, London : George Routledge & Sons. 5th edition 1966, London : Routledge & Kegan Paul.

[19] Popper, Karl 1957.- Philosophy of Science : A Personal Report, British Philosophy in the Mid-Century, C. A. Mace, ed., London : Allen & Unwin, 155-191. Reprinted as Chapter 1 of [Popper 1963].

[20] Popper, Karl 1958.- On the Status of Science and Metaphysics Ratio, 1 (2), 97-115. Reprinted as Chapter 8 of [Popper 1963].

[21] Popper, Karl 1959.- The Logic of Scientific Discovery, London : Hutchinson. Expanded English translation of [Popper 1934]. | MR | Zbl

[22] Popper, Karl 1963.- Conjectures and Refutations, London : Routledge & Kegan Paul. 5th edition, London : Routledge, 1989.

[23] Popper, Karl 1970.- Normal Science and Its Dangers, Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, Imre Lakatos & Alan Musgrave, eds, Cambridge & elsewhere : Cambridge University Press, 51-58. | MR

[24] Popper, Karl 1972.- Objective Knowledge, Oxford : Clarendon Press. 2nd edition 1979.

[25] Popper, Karl 1979.- Die beiden Grundprobleme der Erkenntnistheorie, Tübingen : J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck).

[26] Quine, W. V. O. 1969.- Epistemology Naturalized, In Proceedings of the XIVth International Congress of Philosophy, Vienna, 2nd to 9th September 1968, VI, Vienna : Herder, 1971, 87-103. References are to the preprint in W. V. Quine, Ontological Relativity and Other Essays, New York & London : Columbia University Press, 1969. | MR

[27] Rosenkrantz, Roger 1977.- Inference, Method and Decision, Dordrecht : D. Reidel Publishing Company.

[28] Schrödinger, Erwin 1944.- What Is Life ? Reprinted in Erwin Schrödinger, What Is Life ? & Mind and Matter, Cambridge & elsewhere : Cambridge University Press, 1967.

[29] Vickers, John 2006.- The Problem of Induction, Edward N. Zalta, ed., The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2006 Edition), http :// problem/.