Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now

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12

If theories P and Q are falsifiable, then: (1) there exists a finite set of observation sentences Γ such that ¬ P is a logical consequence of Γ, (2) there exists a finite set of observation sentences Σ such that ¬ Q is a logical consequence of Σ. Fact 1. If P is falsifiable, then (P ∧ Q) is also falsifiable, for any ...


11

Popper described his rejection of the Kantian a priori here. A reply from a Kantian perspective can be found in this student paper.


10

Popper objected to Marxism because Marxism is historicist: Marxism claims that it can predict the future course of history. When I discuss Marxism below, I'm discussing what Popper said about Marxism without necessarily claiming Popper was right. (I think he was far too generous to Marx in many respects. In particular, both Popper and Marx were very badly ...


7

Popper believed that Marx's ideas led to dictatorship based on his observations of the events in the Soviet Union and the actions of the Stalin government. His real objection to Marx wasn't that it lead to dictatorship, but that Marx's ideas were unscientific. Popper was originally a fan of Marx who thought that Marxist economic theory was a perfect ...


7

The word "best" implies value judgments, and can't be evaluated independent of your goals for your worldview. But there are clear practical and pragmatic reasons why science is currently a dominant worldview. These include: Science is testable. Science is replicable. Science is attached to a large and growing body of useful, interconnected, internally ...


6

According to the way things are defined, a theory is 'scientific' or not—not the test. So if one can devise a test that can falsify a prediction of the theory, then the theory is scientific. If it is impossible right now to create such a practical test then, no, the theory is not scientific. If you can't actually perform any kind of test (for whatever ...


6

Deductive arguments aren't non-falsifiable because arguments aren't either true or false. Deductive arguments are either sound, valid but unsound, or invalid. Here's an example: (1) All men are mortal. (2) Socrates is a man. (3) Therefore, Socrates is mortal. It's only the conclusion, or one of the premises that could meaningfully be said to be ...


6

If you defined an isomorphism between the natural numbers and some element of a physical theory, this would imply that there exist statements about the physical theory could not be proven or disproven within the theory. It certainly doesn't say that every statement in the theory is beyond falsification; and it proves nothing whatever about what might happen ...


6

Like every -ism, also Historicism can be used as an over-simplifying label. Having said that, the starting point must be Hegel's Philosophy of History; Hegel's philosophy is complex and his Philosophy of History is a relevant part of his system. A key point is the: attempt to discover meaning or direction in history. Hegel regards history as an ...


6

Popper followed logical positivists (despite arguing with them on other issues) in separating “statements of empirical science from non-empirical statements”, the so-called demarcation. Therefore values, being non-empirical, do not enter the science proper, and after Kuhn Popper fiercely resisted all postmodernistic claims to the contrary. But positivists ...


5

Popper was a fallibilist, not a skeptic. Fallibilism is the heart of one influential response to skepticism. Fallibilists hold that people often have sufficiently strong justification to know that there is for example a tree in the yard. According to fallibilists, a skeptical argument about knowledge relies on setting the standard of justification for ...


5

Walter Kaufmann had some strong opinions on Popper's scholarship in "The Open Society and Its Enemies" More about Hegel than Marx, but probably worth reading anyway given Hegel's influence on Marx


5

Since I can't search all of Popper's works to see if it is addressed anywhere, I'll give an answer based on a specific work. A minimal answer: In a footnote in The Logic of Scientific Discovery Popper states: "Note that I suggest falsifiability as a criterion of demarcation, but not of meaning." This is in a section where he's discussing positivism. In ...


5

Someone can verify a theory by working out its predictions and testing if they are confirmed. This approach was developed by logical positivists, especially Carnap, under the name "verificationism". Unfortunately, they never came up with a quantitative "degree of confirmation", and their philosophy of distinguishing theoretical and factual truths, required ...


5

Popper did accept social sciences as sciences proper, and even was more positive on them than many natural scientists. Here is from Cibangu's Karl Popper and the Social Sciences:"Popper understood the social sciences as sciences in the full sense of the word, a position that attempts to refute the widespread idea that the social sciences represent a weak ...


5

Regarding progress specifically, it might be useful to start with Peirce. Peirce proposed a pragmatist conception of truth as the limit point of the process of empirical investigation and critique — the scientific community gradually approaches a consensus, and Peirce either defines that consensus view as the truth (the standard reading) or suggests that ...


5

The best second hand accounts of Popper are in chapters 3 and 7 of David Deutsch's book "The Fabric of Reality" or Chapters 1, 2, 9, 10, 15,16 of "The Beginning of Infinity" by Deutsch. The vast bulk of second hand accounts of Popper are so bad as that it is difficult to believe they are supposed to be about the material they are supposedly commenting on. ...


5

Goodman's new riddle of induction is old wine in new bottles. The substance behind the problem of induction is the following. People imagine that they arrive at theories by looking at evidence and drawing conclusions from it. But a collection of observations doesn't imply anything at all about the future. So conclusions reached by current evidence may not ...


5

Here is a longer quote from the preface to Open Society and its Enemies: I see now more clearly than ever before that even our greatest troubles spring from something that is as admirable and sound as it is dangerous — from our impatience to better the lot of our fellows. For these troubles are the by-products of what is perhaps the greatest of all moral ...


5

Conifold is right - we need to look further back than the Enlightenment. No historical phenomenon can be given a fixed date of origin but the Enlightenment as Popper would have understood it was predominantly an 18th-century movement. Popper speaks of 'three hundred years', which takes us back (from 1945) to the 17th, not the 18th, century. Also if Popper ...


4

Or perhaps he would say that Grue Theory isn't really falsifiable and therefore isn't a scientific theory until it can be falsified. But it's difficult to see how Grue Theory is different than, say, General Relativity which waited several years for the technology needed to produce definitive tests of the theory. Popper's Falsifiability criterion is ...


4

The reason some empiricists (most notably Popper) have denied that we can verify an empirical hypothesis is that they were thinking of universally quantified statements such as All ravens are black This statement, the argument would go, cannot be verified: regardless of how many ravens one observes, there is always the possibility that the next raven ...


4

After the reconstruction of foundations of mathematics in 20 century, i.e. getting rid of the famous paradoxes (like Russell's paradox), the modern mathematics is based on the belief that no other paradoxes will appear again. Despite numerous efforts, logicians did not manage to prove that the systems of axioms of modern set theories are consistent (and at ...


4

No, that is not the question Popper is addressing. Popper was concerned with what was 'scientific' not what was 'true'. I think he is really just defining 'scientific in the normal mode of science'. Other kinds of things still need to be considered 'scientific' as well, even by Popper, on the basis of Popper's own behavior, at least until it can be ...


4

Here is Popper's famous quote from 1976 that caused the controversy:"I have always been extremely interested in the theory of evolution and very ready to accept evolution as a fact... I have come to the conclusion that Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research programme — a possible framework for testable scientific theories"....


4

Stephen Thornton describes Popper's position on scientific theories as follows: As such it [a scientific theory] can be tested and falsified, but never logically verified. Thus Popper stresses that it should not be inferred from the fact that a theory has withstood the most rigorous testing, for however long a period of time, that it has been verified; ...


4

Here is my understanding of Karl Popper and Nelson Goodman. Both talk about whether and when observations may corroborate a given hypothesis. Popper concludes that observations may falsify, but never affirmatively prove, a statement. Goodman’s New Riddle says nothing about falsification directly, but creates a hypothetical where corroboration and ...


3

First, what is described in the question as Popper's solution, is not his solution, but his formulation of the problem. That is, the problem of induction. In essence, Popper fully accepted David Hume's presentation of the problem of induction. Yet Popper rejected Hume's psychological solution to the problem, and offered a solution of his own, involving the ...


3

The problem of induction: Induction, would it work, makes it possible to infer from finite "true" observations to a sentence that ranges over infinite cases. P1: Oh look, a white swan! P2: Oh, another one! P3: And even a third white swan! C1: All swans are white. Deductive reasoning for the principle of induction It is not possible to show deductively ...


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