Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Karl Popper


Karl Popper – Greatest Philosophers of Science

Karl Popper known as Sir Karl Raimund Popper, an Austrian born British philosopher of natural and social science subscribed to anti-determinist metaphysic, was of the opinion that knowledge evolves from experience of the mind. He was born on July 28, 1902, in Vienna, Austria and died on September 17, 1995, in Croydon, Greater London, England.

In the 20th century, Karl Popper was regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science. He is also known for his rejection of the classical inductivist views on scientific methods in favour of empirical deception. Theory in empirical sciences cannot be proven though it could be fabricated which means that it should be examined by decisive experiments.

 Should the result of the experiment oppose the theory, they should refrain from ad hoc schemes that could avoid the contradictions by making it less made-up. Popper is also known for his disapproval to the classical justificationist account of knowledge that was replaced with critical rationalism by him, `the first non-justificational philosophy of criticism in the history of philosophy’. In political address, Popper is known for his vigorous defence of liberal democracy as well as the principles of social criticism. He was of the belief that it made a flourishing possibility of `open society’.

Wrote on Problems of Determinism/Free Will 

In his later years, his political philosophy held ideas from all important democratic political ideologies and also made efforts in reconciling them – social democracy, conservatism and classical liberalism. He also wrote on the problem of determinism as well as free will, researching several past thinkers on the subject, formulating his own `evolutionary’ model of free will. 
On his lecture delivered at Washington University in St. Louis in April 1965, on Arthur Holly Compton, Of Clouds and Clocks, he observed that the earlier thinkers had seen the only alternative to determinism as chance. Though Popper’s first book – The Logic of Scientific Discovery in 1934, was published by the Vienna Circle of logical positivists, he rejected their empiricism and developmental historicism. 
On studying physics, mathematics and psychology at the University of Vienna, he taught philosophy at Canterbury University College in New Zealand -1937 to 45. Towards 1945, he was a reader at the London School of Economics, serving there as a professor of logic as well as scientific method from 1949 till his retirement in 1969. 

Major Contribution – Rejection of the Inductive Method – Empirical Sciences

Karl Popper's major contribution to the philosophy of science is on his rejection of the inductive method in the empirical sciences. A scientific hypothesis can be tested and verified by attaining the repeated results of substantiating observations, as per the traditional view.

David Hume, a Scottish empiricist, had portrayed that only an infinite number of confirming result can prove that the theory could be accurate. Popper debated that hypotheses are deductively certified to what he calls the `falsifiability criterion’.

A scientist under this system tends to pursue to discover an observed exception to his assumed rule and the absence of contradictory evidence then becomes corroboration of his theory. Popper’s belief that such pseudoscience as astrology, metaphysics, Marxist history as well as Freudian psychoanalysis are not empirical sciences, due to their failure in adhering to the principle of falsifiability.

Karl Popper's later works are `The Open Society and It’s Enemies – 1945, The Poverty of Historicism – 1957, and Postscript to the Logic of Scientific Discovery, volume 3 – 1981-82/ He was knighted in 1965

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