In defence of Popper on the logical possibility of universal laws : a reply to Contessa

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)


This paper is a critique of Contessa’s (in the same issue). First, I show that Popper in The Logic of Scientific Discovery argues against the view that the logical probability of a hypothesis is identical to its degree of confirmation (or corroboration), rather than against Bayesianism. Second, I explain that his argument to this effect does not depend on the assumption that ‘the universe is infinite’. Third, and finally, I refine Popper’s case by developing an argument which requires only that some universal laws have a logical probability of zero relative to any finite evidence, and providing an example concerning Newtonian mechanics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-60
Number of pages8
JournalPhilosophical Writings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


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