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Some statements seem obviously unfalsifiable. For example, an angel sitting on top of me is an example of that statement. Arguably though, many probabilistic statements seem unfalsifiable too, especially in relation to credence of belief. What do you think?

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    Outside science, only a very limited part of our beliefs is - strictly speaking - falsifiable. Mar 27, 2023 at 12:29
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    In science, philosophy, daily life, financial investment, gambling or military strategy? The question is too broad.
    – tkruse
    Mar 27, 2023 at 13:01
  • The choice isn't necessarily between acceptance or dismissal. Most situations are not totally black or white. Maybe something unfalsifiable has plausible reasons to at least be considered.
    – D. Halsey
    Mar 27, 2023 at 13:55
  • The existence of other minds is not falsifiable yet it can hardly be dismissed.
    – armand
    Mar 28, 2023 at 1:49
  • There are unfaslifiable statements even in science. Most notably that science should include only falsifiable statements is itself an unfaslifiable statement.
    – Nikos M.
    Mar 28, 2023 at 6:50

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The principle of falsifiability was introduced by Karl Popper to disinguish empirical claims from those that were not. The examples he gave originally were Marxism and psychoanalysis, pointing out that no newly-discovered facts could falsify either of those theories, because some ad-hoc adjustment could always be made to accomodate whatever came to light. On that basis, he disputed that either of them were empirical theories, because they couldn't be proven wrong by any new discoveries. But I don't think he ever intended that falsifiability should be a kind of catch-all by which to judge any philosophical idea whatever.

Interestingly in the field of speculative physics, there is huge debate about whether such theories as the multiverse, string theory or the many-worlds interpretations are falsifiable in Popper's sense, and so, whether they should be recognised as scientific at all. Sceptics include George Ellis, Peter Woit, and others. Proponents include Sean Carroll and David Deutsch. To get an idea of the flavour of the debate, google the term 'popperazi'.

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  • Is the falsifiablity imperative itself falsifiable? No!
    – Nikos M.
    Mar 28, 2023 at 6:52
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One cannot say that if a statement cannot be proved doesn't mean that it is false and must be dismissed.

In mathematics, the Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem presents a similar argument.

Consider statement A :- "G is false". Now consider G:- "A is true".

If G is true, this makes A true and G becomes false.

If G is false, this makes A false and G becomes true.

You can see that these statements cannot be proved but does not necessarily have to be false.

In physics, we have the Many Worlds Theory which predicts the existence of parallel universes and also tells that no information exchange can happen between these universes and thus theoretically no experiment can prove this theory. However, this theory is supported by many physicists as it describes the mechanism of decoherence "logically" and no other theory can describe the phenomenon well.

You can see that statements that cannot be proved may be true as well.

Sorry, for including many technical terms.

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Should anything that is unfalsifiable be dismissed?

Not necessarily. The statement "Taylor Swift is beautiful" is an unfalsifiable statement. I wouldn't dismiss that statement. An unfalsifiable statement is not necessarily built upon a false or faulty premise. It's simply a statement that can't be proven false.

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  • No it is still falsifiable. Usually when people say that they mean that they find them beautiful which is internally falsifiable. It’s like a person experiencing any other feeling
    – user62907
    Mar 28, 2023 at 5:01