I can see how the idea of falsifiability (rather than some form of verificationism) could support a demarcation between science and pseudoscience. Here is the Wikipedia definition of falsifiability:

A statement, hypothesis, or theory has falsifiability (or is falsifiable) if it is contradicted by a basic statement, which, in an eventual successful or failed falsification, must respectively correspond to a true or hypothetical observation.

Does that "basic statement" have to be a reproducible basic statement? I don't think it does, but I don't know what Popper says about this.

For example, suppose we observe a dust cloud approaching Sagittarius A* where a black hole is supposed to exist. We predict, using our falsifiable gravitation theory, that the dust cloud will be absorbed in some way by the black hole at a certain time. We get only one chance to observe this. It is not a reproducible event. But I think that prediction of the dust cloud's absorption would still be considered a "basic statement" that could contradict the theory.

I am looking for quotes from Popper on this topic since I would like to read more about what he had to say and perhaps quote him later.

  • Funny... astronomy is a strange kind of lab in which experiments are carried-out by filtering rather than by creating. Dec 13 '18 at 22:02
  • IIRC Popper considered Eddington's eclipse observation as a paradigm of an experiment.
    – Dan Hicks
    Dec 13 '18 at 22:19
  • @elliotsvensson I imagine one assumes that if one could repeat them they would always do the same thing. But I wonder whether a statement that falsifies a theory has to be repeatable to be considered a basic statement. I suspect not. Dec 13 '18 at 23:03
  • @DanHicks That's what I would hope he says. I wonder if he discusses this somewhere in The Logic of Scientific Discovery. I have the book, but it is a paper copy and not easy to search. Dec 13 '18 at 23:07
  • ExperimentS must be reproducible; observations : not necessarily so. The obvious examples are astronomical ones, but also earthquakes. Dec 14 '18 at 9:39

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