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 Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek                      

 A - Axiomatic method

 

Axiomatic method: The way of trying to explain things by making axiomatic assumptions or by making definitions, from which one deduces by logic what one wants to explain.

The axiomatic method originates in mathematics, and Euclid's "Elements", that presented geometry in this form, is the first, and dates back to the third Century B.C.

The great advantage of the method is that it clearly identifies what is assumed or defined, and that everything else must be inferred by logic from this, with the consequence that, supposing all inferences are logical, whatever follows from the assumptions is true if the assumptions are true, and whatever follows from the assumptions that is false shows that at least one of the assumptions must be false.

Thus all fundamental problems are shifted back to whatever assumptions, definitions and rules of inference one uses, since everything else follows deductively from these.

When the axiomatic method is combined with careful and objective empirical testing of the consequences deduced from the axioms, when these axioms concern empirical subjects, we have the outlines of the scientific method, that was first fully clear to Galileo.

 


See also: Axiom, Theory, Scientific method


Literature:

Carnap, Stegmüller
 

 Original: Jun 12, 2005                                                Last edited: 12 December 2011.   Top