A hypothesis is a formulation designed to explain observations,
and to give a framework for testing. With a hypothesis one begins
with evidence and looks for the probable cause. The logical forms
discussed in this section is the basis for the "scientific
method." This is discussed more at the end of this section.
A hypothesis is set up in the following way:
- Here are the data (or observations). What could account for this?
or What could have caused this?
- Reasoning leads me to believe that the most probable cause for
these observations is X.
- So, If X is the cause, then these observations would follow.
- Notice that we now have a hypothetical claim in the standard
form, If P, then Q, where P is the probable cause and Q is (are)
- Notice also that we are working backwards from the necessary
condition to the sufficient
- In other words the purpose
of the hypothesis is to best determine what the sufficient condition
is based on what the necessary condition is.
Continue on for more on hypotheses.