Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


A fast-paced novel of conjecture and surprises



core definition

Justificationism is a position in the philosophy of science that argues that scientific knowledge consists of proven propositions and, thus, that scientific honesty demands that no assertion be made that is unproven.

explanatory context

There are four basic justificationist models, deductivism, inductivism, probabilism and dogmatic falsificationism. These provide the core for much of the development of subsequent models.

analytical review

Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy (2004) states :

Popper divided philosophy into two main groups. One proposes justificationism, which holds that science is the quest for justification, certainty, or probability. These philosophers also support verificationism, which identifies knowledge with verified or proven knowledge. A belief is acceptable only if it can be confirmed or verified by positive observation and experience and past evidence renders future happenings probable. Popper criticized this position as unscientific and proposed a rival program of falsificationism, which claims that the rationality of science does not seek justification or verification, but seeks to test theories through attempted refutation. We can never establish certainty for a theory, and only theories which are falsifiable are scientific.

associated issues


related areas

See also



Anonymous, 2004, 'Justificationism' in Bunnin, N. and Yu, J., (Eds) Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy, available at , accessed 24 January 2013, not found 6 June 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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