What objective criteria can be used to judge philosophical refutations?

Say for example that someone is writing a criticism of Karl Popper. What are ways to reject the criticism without getting into a detailed debate of the sort that this site doesn't allow?

  • the criticism could be of a position that isn't actually Popper's position

  • the criticism could be one Popper already answered in a book, and the critic wasn't aware of, or chose not to deal with, all Popper's writing.

  • the criticism might not include some basic aspects of a criticism like saying what idea it's criticizing and what's wrong with the idea

  • the "criticism" could just be an assertion with no explanatory reasoning. (bad reasoning would be debatable, but none would be more clearly a bad criticism)

  • the criticism could have a basic logical error

what else?

the broader goal is to seek out criticisms of Popper, Rand and others that don't suck, and define some criteria for "don't suck" that will be acceptable on this site.

  • 1
    What do philosophical arguments have to do with this site's guidelines?
    – E...
    Jun 12, 2016 at 13:23
  • How do you deal with criticisms of those refutations? What if the refutation which points out some logical flaw in a criticism of Popper, itself contains a logical flaw? What if a criticism of Popper has been thoroughly debunked, but it turns out later that that debunking has itself been thoroughly debunked? Philosophy itself is not objective. That's what makes it so hard. Philosophy is a centuries-long conversation, and the only way to adjudge whether some specific notion or person is "right" is whether the current, necessarily ephemeral and passing, consensus beleives it is right
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 12, 2016 at 15:01
  • @curi keep trying man Jun 14, 2016 at 5:52

1 Answer 1


One approached used by Justice of the US Supreme Court William O Douglas was "the sidebar" whereby a "defendant" would be allowed to approach the Bench first requiring the appellation "if it pleases the Court may I approach the Bench?" whereupon the Judge having agreed to said request you may discuss the matter at hand "in secret."

Quite remarkable how much objective truth can be realized from that "deceptively simple" methodology actually.

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