Debates—Hypothesis testing in hydrology: Pursuing certainty versus pursuing uberty

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Modern hydrology places nearly all its emphasis on science-as-knowledge, the hypotheses of which are increasingly expressed as physical models, whose predictions are tested by correspondence to quantitative data sets. Though arguably appropriate for applications of theory to engineering and applied science, the associated emphases on truth and degrees of certainty are not optimal for the productive and creative processes that facilitate the fundamental advancement of science as a process of discovery. The latter requires an investigative approach, where the goal is uberty, a kind of fruitfulness of inquiry, in which the abductive mode of inference adds to the much more commonly acknowledged modes of deduction and induction. The resulting world-directed approach to hydrology provides a valuable complement to the prevailing hypothesis- (theory-) directed paradigm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1770-1778
Number of pages9
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume53
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

Keywords

  • hypothesis testing
  • modeling
  • philosophy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

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