That is the claim made by the iron ladies to justify their political agendas. Can a scientific theory also be supported by such an argument? Michael Krämer discusses a new philosophical proof
While most scientists do not care much about the philosophy of science, almost everyone knows of Karl Popper, and some might have heard of Thomas Kuhn. Both Popper and Kuhn have shaped two important phases of philosophy of science in the 20th century. Popper and his contemporaries were aiming at the grand picture, and have been arguing what is, and what is not, "good science". Kuhn, on the other hand, focused on sociological and historical aspects and initiated a new, descriptive style of philosophy that brought it closer to the actual scientific practice. In his talk at the recent meeting of the German Society for Philosophy of Science, Stephan Hartmann, Director of the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, argued that we have now entered a third phase, the phase of "scientific philosophy". Scientific philosophy combines different scientific methods to address philosophical problems, including mathematics, empirical studies and even experiment. Hartmann demonstrated the power of such an approach by analyzing the "no alternatives" argument: can we base trust in a scientific theory on the fact that no alternative has been found? In a recent paper to appear in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Hartmann and his collaborators Dawid and Sprenger provide a mathematical proof of the "no alternatives" argument based on Bayesian statistics.