Popper’s Principle of Falsification

Deductive thinking is to make conclusions based on a law and a condition. Students in the social sciences at German universities learn deductive thinking early on.

Applying deductive thinking in the social sciences is not that simple, however. Statements (laws) can never be proven conclusively, because it is not possible to test every possible case. 

The Germans in the social sciences, therefore, rely on the Falsifikationsprinzip or principle of falsification: to seek out cases which contradict the hypothesis, in order to refine that hypothesis. 

The Falsifikationsprinzip was developed by the Austrian philosopher Karl Popper, and is foundational to social science thinking in Germany.

It is one of the key reasons why Germans are inclined to reject inductive thinking, which suggests the general based on the specific. German social scientists (and academics in general) believe that inductive thinking is fine for everyday life, but has no place in the sciences.