Hypothesis means several things, but I think (and Wikipedia roughly agrees) that there are two main senses:

A. Epistemological - a tentative affirmation, posed as explanation for a phenomenon. In the context of scientific method, a (scientific) hypothesis should be testeable by experience. When it's (up to some degree) tested, accepted, articulated within a rational system, it forms part of a scientific theory.

B. Logical - as in formal logic (and mathematics). Antecedent of a conditional proposition, premise of a theorem. Its truth is not relevant per se, only conditionally. If it's true, then the conclusion (or the thesis) is true.

Now, I've seen sometimes the terms "thesis" and "hypothesis" used in the following sense:

  • hypothesis is a tentative, untested (or insuficciently tested) theory to explain some facts
  • when it's tested and accepted, then it is promoted as a thesis

This looks to me as artifical and wrong, as it mixes senses (epistomological sense of "hypothesis" and logical sense of "thesis"). And that "promotion", in reality, does not take place, not with those terms. As long as I see, the scientific community does not uses the word "thesis" in that sense.

Have you seen (or used) those terms in that sense? Do you think it's justified?

  • I agree with you: thesis is not a "technical" terms with any definite meaning or usage in logic (and - I think - neither in epistemology). Jun 16 '16 at 15:25
  • Thesis has a place in philosophy as part of Thesis, antithesis, synthesis triad, used by Hegel. This is a specific usage but originates from the meaning of thesis as: "intellectual proposition" to be argumented or proved, wich is the source (from Medieval philosophy) of the current usage of thesis as academic dissertation: "The term "thesis" comes from the Greek θέσις, meaning "something put forth", and refers to an intellectual proposition." Jun 16 '16 at 15:28

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