Paleontology as a circumstantial evidence lawsuit
The question if historical sciences (such as geology and paleontology) as well as biology have universal laws is an ongoing subject of debate. Paleontology, a science overlapping with geology and biology, cannot fulfil the strict requirements of an empirical science and its criterion of demarcation in the sense of logical empiricists. Like in natural sciences such as physics, the scientific reasoning in paleontology as a historical science contains the four steps: (1) observation/description/measurement; (2) classification; (3) establishment of laws, rules and interpretations; and (4) establishment of principles. Two conclusions are of special importance: (1) evolution is proposed here as a regulative idea for paleontology and (2) historical sciences have to be understood as hermeneutic. That confronts them with the hermeneutical circle but they are nevertheless scientific.