Four essential elements of the scientific method are iterations, recursions, interleavings, or orderings of the following:
- Characterizations (observations, definitions, and measurements of the subject of inquiry)
- Hypotheses (theoretical, hypothetical explanations of observations and measurements of the subject)
- Predictions (reasoning including logical deduction from the hypothesis or theory)
- Experiments (tests of all of the above)
[Emphasis mine. Markup referring to several wikilinks and references omitted. Notably, there was no specific reference attached to the emphasized phrase.]
In this quote I find the final parenthetical emphasized phrase questionable:
because apparently it implies that "characterizations (observations, definitions, measurements)" are subject to experimental tests.
In contrast, I'd say that
definitions of notions and terminology by which to express particular hypotheses and predictions endure any tests and possibly resulting refutation of those hypotheses and predictions,
definitions of notions and terminology by which to express particular measurement operations endure any application of those measurement operations to given observational data regardless of resulting measurement values, and
observational data collected in previous trials and derived measured values pertaining to those previous trials endure the possible collection of observational data and derivation of measurements in any subsequent trials.
Focussing especially on definitions, therefore I'd like to know:
Is there anyone besides Wikipedia known to claim explicitly that definitions can be experimentally tested?
Is there anyone known who would follow my claim instead, as sketched above, that definitions cannot be experimentally tested?
Is there any possible resolution of this conflict, for instance by considering different notions of "definition" and/or of "experimental test"?