One of the 20th century's most influential philosophers of science ,    Popper is known for his rejection of the classical inductivist views on the scientific method in favour of empirical falsification. According to Popper, a theory in the empirical sciences can never be proven, but it can be falsified, meaning that it can and should be scrutinised with decisive experiments. Popper was opposed to the classical justificationist account of knowledge, which he replaced with critical rationalism , namely "the first non-justificational philosophy of criticism in the history of philosophy". In political discourse, he is known for his vigorous defence of liberal democracy and the principles of social criticism that he believed made a flourishing open society possible. Karl Popper was born in Vienna then in Austria-Hungary in to upper-middle-class parents.
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One of the 20th century's most influential philosophers of science ,    Popper is known for his rejection of the classical inductivist views on the scientific method in favour of empirical falsification. According to Popper, a theory in the empirical sciences can never be proven, but it can be falsified, meaning that it can and should be scrutinised with decisive experiments.
Popper was opposed to the classical justificationist account of knowledge, which he replaced with critical rationalism , namely "the first non-justificational philosophy of criticism in the history of philosophy".
In political discourse, he is known for his vigorous defence of liberal democracy and the principles of social criticism that he believed made a flourishing open society possible. Karl Popper was born in Vienna then in Austria-Hungary in to upper-middle-class parents. All of Popper's grandparents were Jewish , but they were not devout and as part of the cultural assimilation process the Popper family converted to Lutheranism before he was born   and so he received a Lutheran baptism.
Popper's uncle was the Austrian philosopher Josef Popper-Lynkeus. Popper left school at the age of 16 and attended lectures in mathematics, physics, philosophy, psychology and the history of music as a guest student at the University of Vienna. He worked in street construction for a short amount of time, but was unable to cope with the heavy labour.
Continuing to attend university as a guest student, he started an apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker, which he completed as a journeyman. He was dreaming at that time of starting a daycare facility for children, for which he assumed the ability to make furniture might be useful. After that he did voluntary service in one of psychoanalyst Alfred Adler 's clinics for children. In , he did his matura by way of a second chance education and finally joined the University as an ordinary student.
He completed his examination as an elementary teacher in and started working at an after-school care club for socially endangered children. Around that time he started courting Josefine Anna Henninger, who later became his wife.
He married his colleague Josefine Anna Henninger — in Fearing the rise of Nazism and the threat of the Anschluss , he started to use the evenings and the nights to write his first book Die beiden Grundprobleme der Erkenntnistheorie The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge. He needed to publish a book to get an academic position in a country that was safe for people of Jewish descent.
In the end, he did not publish the two-volume work; but instead, a condensed version with some new material, as Logik der Forschung The Logic of Scientific Discovery in Here, he criticised psychologism , naturalism , inductivism , and logical positivism , and put forth his theory of potential falsifiability as the criterion demarcating science from non-science.
In and , he took unpaid leave to go to the United Kingdom for a study visit. In , Popper finally managed to get a position that allowed him to emigrate to New Zealand, where he became lecturer in philosophy at Canterbury University College of the University of New Zealand in Christchurch. In , after the Second World War , he moved to the United Kingdom to become a reader in logic and scientific method at the London School of Economics.
Three years later, in , he was appointed professor of logic and scientific method at the University of London. Popper was president of the Aristotelian Society from to He retired from academic life in , though he remained intellectually active for the rest of his life. In , he returned to Austria so that his wife could have her relatives around her during the last months of her life; she died in November that year.
After the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft failed to establish him as the director of a newly founded branch researching the philosophy of science, he went back again to the United Kingdom in , settling in Kenley , Surrey.
Popper died of "complications of cancer, pneumonia and kidney failure" in Kenley at the age of 92 on 17 September Popper's estate is managed by his secretary and personal assistant Melitta Mew and her husband Raymond. Popper's manuscripts went to the Hoover Institution at Stanford University , partly during his lifetime and partly as supplementary material after his death.
Klagenfurt University has Popper's library, including his precious bibliophilia, as well as hard copies of the original Hoover material and microfilms of the supplementary material.
Popper and his wife had chosen not to have children because of the circumstances of war in the early years of their marriage. Popper commented that this "was perhaps a cowardly but in a way a right decision". In , he was the first awarded the Prize International Catalonia for "his work to develop cultural, scientific and human values all around the world". Popper's rejection of Marxism during his teenage years left a profound mark on his thought. He had at one point joined a socialist association, and for a few months in considered himself a communist.
He then took the view that when it came to sacrificing human lives, one was to think and act with extreme prudence. The failure of democratic parties to prevent fascism from taking over Austrian politics in the s and s traumatised Popper.
He suffered from the direct consequences of this failure since events after the Anschluss the annexation of Austria by the German Reich in forced him into permanent exile. His most important works in the field of social science — The Poverty of Historicism and The Open Society and Its Enemies —were inspired by his reflection on the events of his time and represented, in a sense, a reaction to the prevalent totalitarian ideologies that then dominated Central European politics.
His books defended democratic liberalism as a social and political philosophy. They also represented extensive critiques of the philosophical presuppositions underpinning all forms of totalitarianism.
Popper believed that there was a contrast between the theories of Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler , which he considered non-scientific, and Albert Einstein 's theory of relativity which set off the revolution in physics in the early 20th century.
Popper thought that Einstein's theory, as a theory properly grounded in scientific thought and method, was highly "risky", in the sense that it was possible to deduce consequences from it which differed considerably from those of the then-dominant Newtonian physics ; one such prediction, that gravity could deflect light, was verified by Eddington's experiments in He thus came to the conclusion that they had more in common with primitive myths than with genuine science.
This led Popper to conclude that what were regarded as the remarkable strengths of psychoanalytical theories were actually their weaknesses. Psychoanalytical theories were crafted in a way that made them able to refute any criticism and to give an explanation for every possible form of human behaviour. The nature of such theories made it impossible for any criticism or experiment—even in principle—to show them to be false.
He considered that if a theory cannot, in principle, be falsified by criticism, it is not a scientific theory. Popper coined the term "critical rationalism" to describe his philosophy, something similar to Kant's philosophy. Popper rejected the empiricist view following from Kant that basic statements are infallible, rather that they are descriptions in relation to a theoretical framework.
Popper argued strongly against the latter, holding that scientific theories are abstract in nature, and can be tested only indirectly, by reference to their implications. He also held that scientific theory, and human knowledge generally, is irreducibly conjectural or hypothetical, and is generated by the creative imagination to solve problems that have arisen in specific historico-cultural settings.
Logically, no number of positive outcomes at the level of experimental testing can confirm a scientific theory, but a single counterexample is logically decisive; it shows the theory, from which the implication is derived, to be false. To say that a given statement e.
Rather, it means that, if "T" is false, then in principle , "T" could be shown to be false, by observation or by experiment. Popper's account of the logical asymmetry between verification and falsifiability lies at the heart of his philosophy of science. It also inspired him to take falsifiability as his criterion of demarcation between what is, and is not, genuinely scientific: a theory should be considered scientific if, and only if, it is falsifiable. This led him to attack the claims of both psychoanalysis and contemporary Marxism to scientific status, on the basis that their theories are not falsifiable.
Popper also wrote extensively against the famous Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. He strongly disagreed with Niels Bohr 's instrumentalism and supported Albert Einstein 's realist approach to scientific theories about the universe. Popper's falsifiability resembles Charles Peirce 's nineteenth-century fallibilism. In All Life is Problem Solving , Popper sought to explain the apparent progress of scientific knowledge—that is, how it is that our understanding of the universe seems to improve over time.
This problem arises from his position that the truth content of our theories, even the best of them, cannot be verified by scientific testing, but can only be falsified.
Again, in this context the word "falsified" does not refer to something being "fake"; rather, that something can be i. Some things simply do not lend themselves to being shown to be false, and therefore, are not falsifiable. If so, then how is it that the growth of science appears to result in a growth in knowledge? In Popper's view, the advance of scientific knowledge is an evolutionary process characterised by his formula:  .
Consequently, just as a species' biological fitness does not ensure continued survival, neither does rigorous testing protect a scientific theory from refutation in the future.
For Popper, it is in the interplay between the tentative theories conjectures and error elimination refutation that scientific knowledge advances toward greater and greater problems; in a process very much akin to the interplay between genetic variation and natural selection.
Among his contributions to philosophy is his claim to have solved the philosophical problem of induction. He states that while there is no way to prove that the sun will rise, it is possible to formulate the theory that every day the sun will rise; if it does not rise on some particular day, the theory will be falsified and will have to be replaced by a different one. Until that day, there is no need to reject the assumption that the theory is true.
Nor is it rational according to Popper to make instead the more complex assumption that the sun will rise until a given day, but will stop doing so the day after, or similar statements with additional conditions. Such a theory would be true with higher probability, because it cannot be attacked so easily:.
Popper held that it is the least likely, or most easily falsifiable, or simplest theory attributes which he identified as all the same thing that explains known facts that one should rationally prefer. His opposition to positivism, which held that it is the theory most likely to be true that one should prefer, here becomes very apparent.
It is impossible, Popper argues, to ensure a theory to be true; it is more important that its falsity can be detected as easily as possible. Popper agreed with David Hume that there is often a psychological belief that the sun will rise tomorrow and that there is no logical justification for the supposition that it will, simply because it always has in the past. Popper writes,. I approached the problem of induction through Hume. Hume, I felt, was perfectly right in pointing out that induction cannot be logically justified.
Popper held that rationality is not restricted to the realm of empirical or scientific theories, but that it is merely a special case of the general method of criticism, the method of finding and eliminating contradictions in knowledge without ad-hoc measures. According to this view, rational discussion about metaphysical ideas, about moral values and even about purposes is possible.
Popper's student W. Bartley III tried to radicalise this idea and made the controversial claim that not only can criticism go beyond empirical knowledge, but that everything can be rationally criticised.
To Popper, who was an anti- justificationist , traditional philosophy is misled by the false principle of sufficient reason. He thinks that no assumption can ever be or needs ever to be justified, so a lack of justification is not a justification for doubt.
Instead, theories should be tested and scrutinised. It is not the goal to bless theories with claims of certainty or justification, but to eliminate errors in them. He writes,. The Philosophy of Karl Popper , p.
Popper's principle of falsifiability runs into prima facie difficulties when the epistemological status of mathematics is considered. If they are not open to falsification they can not be scientific.
If they are not scientific, it needs to be explained how they can be informative about real world objects and events. Popper's solution  was an original contribution in the philosophy of mathematics. In one sense it is irrefutable and logically true , in the second sense it is factually true and falsifiable. Popper considered historicism to be the theory that history develops inexorably and necessarily according to knowable general laws towards a determinate end.
XXVI , no. DOI: Abstract: The Schumpeterian and neo-schumpeterian theories represent pillars on which the subject of innovation developed and gained expression. Moreover, innovation is an independent area both in national and international congresses.
What is good science?
If you do not have the Acrobat Reader installed, you may download it here. Using Knowledge. Does Valid Reasoning Matter? Selected Publications all rights in all papers reproduced here belong to the author. Dordrecht: D Reidel Publishing Co
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