Who is the postivist?

Stuart G. Poss sgposs at WHALE.ST.USM.EDU
Sun Dec 7 22:12:54 CST 1997

sylvia hope wrote:

> Sylvia Hope wrote:
>           This is murky.  An hypothesis of homology is *arrived at* in
>           the first place by comparison of characters
>            in two or more taxa; it is *tested* or *validated* by
>           congruence with other character evidence.
>           A synapomorphy is not an hypothesis, it is an hypothetical
>           construct which results from a successful attempt to
>           validate an hypothesis of homology.

This sounds even murkier to me.  According to my understanding
(perspective), the procedures of testing (=falsification) and validation
(=corroberation?) in science are quite different.

Question 1:  You seem to imply that a hypothesis of homology is the
result of some unspecified kind of comparison, presumably based upon
other "character evidence".  Given this kind of reasoning, where does
one begin the process of induction?  I assume you induction and not
deduction, since you seem to imply that one does not start with an axiom
(hypothesis initially taken to be true for the sake of argument alone).

Question 2:  Is there some "character evidence" that is assumed
(=hypothesized) that is not first "arrived at" to get things started?
If not, what is the nature of such evidence and how is it independent of
the process of "character" conceptualization (hypothesis building?)?

Question 3: How does a hypothetical construct differ from a hypothesis?

Question 4: Under what circumstances and using what independent criteria
does one establish "success"?  How is recognition of "success" made

Question 5: How is such "success" determined to be independent of
character congruence?  If it is not in some sense independent, then how
can it be used to infer (falsify) statments about expected (or
unexpected) outcomes of such a "test"?

Stuart G. Poss                       E-mail: sgposs at whale.st.usm.edu
Senior Ichthyologist & Curator       Tel: (601)872-4238
Gulf Coast Research Laboratory       FAX: (601)872-4204
P.O. Box 7000
Ocean Springs, MS  39566-7000

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