more from Hilary Putnam

Single Idea 18960

[catalogued under 14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 4. Prediction]

Full Idea

Scientists want successful predictions in order to confirm their theories; they do not want theories in order to obtain the predictions, which are in some cases of not the slightest interest in themselves.

Gist of Idea

Most predictions are uninteresting, and are only sought in order to confirm a theory


Hilary Putnam (Philosophy of Logic [1971], Ch.8)

Book Reference

Putnam,Hilary: 'Philosophy of Logic' [Routledge 1972], p.72

A Reaction

Equally, we might only care about the prediction, and have no interest at all in the theory. Farmers want weather predictions, not a PhD in meteorology.