Some Theories are Unfalsifiable: A Comment on Trafimow


Journal Article

Trafimow (2009) claims that there are no unfalsifiable theories: To test any theory, one must make auxiliary assumptions, and with sufficient creativity about auxiliary assumptions one could always arrive at reasonably risky predictions. We argue that a prediction from a theory plus a given set of auxiliary assumptions will not be risky for the theory when the initial level of confidence in the theory is greater than the initial level of confidence in one or more of the auxiliary assumptions. Some theories, we claim, are so basic that initial confidence in these theories will be greater than initial confidence in any set of auxiliary assumptions with which they could be tested, and such theories are unfalsifiable. We illustrate this with a principle that forms part of the theory of reasoned action. © 2010, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wallach, L; Wallach, MA

Published Date

  • January 1, 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 20 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 703 - 706

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0959-3543

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0959354310373676

Citation Source

  • Scopus