Philosophy is my major - I would be very interested to read your reasoning all the way from the arguments made in these posts through the very complex processes of critical analysis right up to the conclusion offered that most of what is being posted here is false or nonsense. You seem hugely ambitious, HughWHY ALL THEORIES ARE UNPROVABLE
We can appreciate Lakatos's point by considering a single example: Newton's theory of gravitation. Newton's theory says that every particle of matter in the universe attracts every other particle with a force according to an inverse square law. Newton's theory is a universal generalization that applies to every particle of matter, anywhere in the universe, at any time. But however numerous they might be, our observations of planets, falling bodies, and projectiles concern only a finite number of bodies during finite amounts of time. So the scope of Newton's theory vastly exceeds the scope of the evidence. It is possible that all our observations are correct, and yet Newton's theory is false because some bodies not yet observed violate the inverse square law. Since "All Fs are G" cannot be deduced from "Some Fs are G," it cannot be true that Newton's theory can be proven by logically deducing it from the evidence. As Lakatos points out, this prevents us from claiming that scientific theories, unlike pseudoscientific theories, can be proven from observational facts. The truth is that no theory can be deduced from such facts. All theories are unprovable, scientific and unscientific alike.arguing with yourselfWHY ALL THEORIES ARE IMPROBABLE
While conceding that scientific theories cannot be proven, most people still believe that theories can be made more probable by evidence. Lakatos follows Popper in denying that any theory can be made probable by any amount of evidence. Popper's argument for this controversial claim rests on the analysis of the objective probability of statements given by inductive logicians.
Consider a card randomly drawn from a standard deck of fifty-two cards. What is the probability that the card selected is the ten of hearts? Obviously, the answer is 1/52. There are fifty two possibilities, each of which is equally likely and only one of which would render true the statement "This card is the ten of hearts." Now consider a scientific theory that, like Newton's theory of gravitation, is universal. The number of things to which Newton's theory applies is, presumably, infinite. Imagine that we name each of these things by numbering them 1, 2, 3, . . . , n, . . . . There are infinitely many ways the world could be, each equally probable.
1 obeys Newton's theory, but none of the others do.
1 and 2 obey Newton's theory, but none of the others do.
1, 2, and 3 obey Newton's theory, but none of the others do.
All bodies (1, 2, 3, . . . , n, . . . ) obey Newton's theory.
Since these possibilities are infinite in number, and each of them has the same probability, the probability of any one of them must be O. But only one, the last one, represents the way the world would be if Newton's theory were true. So the probability of Newton's theory (and any other universal generalization) must be 0.
Now one might think that, even if the initial probability of a theory must be 0, the probability of the theory when it has been confirmed by evidence will be greater than 0. As it turns out, the probability calculus denies this. Let our theory be T, and let our evidence for T be E. We are interested in P(T/E), the probability of T given our evidence E. Bayes's theorem (which follows logically from the axioms of the probability calculus) tells us that this probability is:
P(T/E) = [P(E/T x P(T)]/P(E)
If the initial probability of T, that is P(T), is 0, then P(T/E) must also be O. Thus, no theory can increase in objective probability, regardless of the amount of evidence for it. For this reason, Lakatos joins Popper in regarding all theories, whether scientific or not, as equally unprovable and equally improbable.