I recently asked how we can even know which philosophical interpretation of probability is correct, here: How can we even know which philosophical interpretation of probability is correct?. However, that raises a larger question. Are there even any philosophical theories and "-isms" which are testable? This is a metaphilosophical question. My personal belief is that if a theory or "-ism" is testable, it is no longer philosophy, but in the realm of science. But what have professional philosophers thought of this question?

  • Science likely meant by you as scientific theories are only falsifiable, never testable… Feb 2 at 23:13
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    Does this answer your question? What is the difference between philosophy, religion, and science? Feb 2 at 23:30
  • "Testable" is a vague word, and it is much more circumscribed in science than elsewhere. Public policies are tested by practice when they are implemented. They achieve the desired effects or not, but which it is is open to opinion and interpretation. The same with broader ideologies, like communism, but the verdict is even more controversial. Philosophical doctrines are testable in this relaxed sense too, and some survive the test of time while others not. There are well-known parts of Kant's philosophy, for example, that have been tested and found wanting, while others remain viable.
    – Conifold
    Feb 2 at 23:31

1 Answer 1


I think it's ridiculous to frame the issue this way. Interpretations of probability were initially developed within mathematics but became important for the natural sciences and philosophy later and to this day mathematicians, computer scientists, statisticians etc. do most of the work. The idea that the philosopher is an "idea man" who proposes a new framework for looking at some issue for scientists is entirely ahistorical (because this [probably] never actually happened) and useless, because ideas are cheap.

Also, as I said in response to your post about probability, the idea that there is one, ultimate correct interpretation is a misunderstanding. The issue is to incorporate various insights into one framework. This is also true of some other philosophical questions.

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