Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge by Karl PopperConjectures and Refutations is one of Karl Poppers most wide-ranging and popular works, notable not only for its acute insight into the way scientific knowledge grows, but also for applying those insights to politics and to history. It provides one of the clearest and most accessible statements of the fundamental idea that guided his work: not only our knowledge, but our aims and our standards, grow through an unending process of trial and error.
Falsifications and scientific progress: Popper as sceptical optimist
Lettera Matematica. A scientific theory must be falsifiable, and scientific knowledge is always tentative, or conjectural. Since his writings contain some essential developments of these views and make some steps towards epistemological optimism. Although we cannot justify any claim that a scientific theory is true, the aim of science is the search of truth and we have no reason to be sceptical about the notion of getting nearer to the truth. Our knowledge can grow, and science can progress. The problem of demarcation consists in the search for a criterion that makes it possible to distinguish empirical science from metaphysical speculation, philosophical systems and other forms of human knowledge. One answer to this problem is widely agreed upon: science is based on facts and is distinguished by its inductive method, which derives universal laws by generalising the results of observations and experiments.
The essays and lectures of which this book is composed are variations upon one very simple theme--the thesis that we can learn from our mistakes. They develop a theory of knowledge and of its growth. It is a theory of reason that assigns to rational arguments the modest and yet important role of criticizing our often mistaken attempts to solve our problems. And it is a theory of experience that assigns to our observations the equally modest and almost equally important role of tests which may help us in the discovery of our mistakes. Though it stresses our fallibility it does not resign itself to scepticism, for it also stresses the fact that knowledge can grow, and that science can progress--just because we can learn from our mistakes. The way in which knowledge progresses, and especially our scientific knowledge, is by unjustified and unjustifiable anticipations, by guesses, by tentative solutions to our problems, by conjectures. These conjectures are controlled by criticism; that is, by attempted refutations , which include severely critical tests.
Not good enough — what counts as a good empirical method? It is easy to obtain confirmations of a theory if we look for them. Confirmations should really only count if they are the result of risky predictions. The more it forbids, the better it is. A non-falsifiable theory is not scientific. Every genuine test of a theory is an attempt to falsify it.
In this selection, Popper gives a brief account of how he believes scientific theories are properly demarcated from other types of theories. He notes that a common way to distinguish science from other disciplines is by attending to the methodology that science employs. Reliance an empirical observation, it is sometimes suggested, is the mark of a science; any discipline that justifies its claim to knowledge by way of observation and experimentation counts as a science, and anything that fails to do these things is disqualified as a science.
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Conjectures and Refutations by Karl Popper Audiobook -Chapter 1 Science: Conjectures and Refutations
The distinction gets at the core of what comprises human knowledge: How do we actually know something to be true? Is it simply because our powers of observation tell us so? Or is there more to it? Sir Karl Popper , the scientific philosopher , was interested in the same problem. How do we actually define the scientific process?