M.Sc., M.Ed., JRF & NET
Assistant Professor in Physical Science, Arafa Institute for Teacher Education
Corroboration refers to an extent to which a given theory has withstood severe tests. The severity of tests is depends “upon the degree of testability, and thus upon the simplicity of the hypothesis.” Consequently, corroboration is linked to falsifiability. Thus, according to Popper, the more significanlty falsifiable a theory is, the greater is its degree of corroborability.
In the case of evidence supporting corroboration, it inclines to support a hypothesis which is initially supported by other evidences, thus confirming the hypothesis. Here again it should be noted that the hypothesis should be falsifiable. For example, the statement, “Sun rises every morning.” The evidence for this statement is based on one’s observation of the sun rising every morning all these days. This corroborates the hypothesis that sunrise will rise every morning, because in case if the sun had not risen on any one of the morning in the past would falsify the hypothesis. Therefore, each morning the hypothesis is tested. All these days, the hypothesis has been found to be true, and every success (i.e., sun rising in the morning) further corroborates the hypothesis more.
Does past evidence corroborate the future expectation? For example, what is the guarantee that the sun will rise tomorrow morning? Can we corroborate it based on the past evidence? In case if the sun has not risen on any one previous day, would it challenge the claim that the sun will rise tomorrow morning? No, as the evidence in the past does not corroborate the future expectation, even though it does corroborate the general hypothesis that the sun will rise every morning.
It can be thus stated that in a valid argument, corroboration cannot flow from evidence to conclusion. Thus, evidence that corroborates a hypothesis does not always corroborate predictions derived from that hypothesis.