The current relationship between Popper’s philosophy of science and Information Systems (IS) is complex and often confused. On the one hand, many influential members of the IS community claim that much IS research follows Popper’s falsificationism. On the other hand, many assumptions underlying Popper’s falsificationism, including the nature of theories as exceptionless laws rejected by a singular unsupportive observation are inappropriate and misleading. Moreover, Popper also rejected all inductive inferences and inductive methods as unscientific which, alas, has led some influential IS scholars to dismiss inductive inferences in major IS methodologies. Such Popperian advice is harmful as virtually all statistical or qualitative IS research relies on inductive inferences – and there is nothing wrong with that. Finally, we offer a solution for how to deal with the scientific significance of the problem of induction. This solution is inductive fallibilism. This means recognizing that theories, rather than always being held as true or false simply, often contain varying inductive supportive and unsupportive evidence.
Mao, M., Siponen, M., & Nathan, M. (2023). Popperian Falsificationism in IS: Major Confusions and Harmful Influences. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 53, 796-814. https://doi.org/10.17705/1CAIS.05333
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