Approximate Truth

It is most often when laws or theories, or whatever we call them, are extended to new ranges of application, or when the precision in observation technique has improved, that refutations occur. A good example is Boyle's Law, which holds in certain ranges of temperatures and pressures, and which can be seen as an approximation to van der Waals's Law, which has a more general range of application.

Another good example is Special Relativity Theory, which came to life when speeds close to the speed of light where focused in science, and the observation technique had become so refined that the Michelson-Morley experiments on the speed of light in two perpendicular directions became possible.

It is interesting to note that most outdated theories, such as Boyle's Law and Newton's Mechanics, after losing their footholds as exact truths, yet remain on the scientific stage as useful approximations. It would even be stupid to use the relativistic Lorentz transformations in Ballistics, as the speeds of projectiles are so far from the speed of light.

Anyhow, the central issue in logical empiricism is the refutation due to observations contradicting empirical generalizations, the subsequent reshaping of the theory being left to the discretion of the scientists.

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