Chapter 4 Review: Popper, Conjecture and Refutation
Felix Walpole: 998737256 - TA: Greg Lusk
February 13th 2012
Karl Popper presents a way of perceiving science that is appealing for a number of reasons, he argued a few simple and outstanding claims with which he attempted to revolutionize the way we see and practice science. In the chapter, Popper, Conjecture and Refutation, Goddfrey communicates the basic ideas that set Popper apart from other philosophers of science, and explains how his theories are still important half a century after their conception. I will first outline the components of Poppers theory, and then continue to summarize the known objections to his theories. It will then be possible to formulate a critique of Goddfrey’s chapter. Popper can be seen as an empiricist who attempted to distinguish his own type of empiricism, different from that of other philosophers. Although Popper was not a logical positivist, he did communicate and disagree with them. Popper’s initial goal was to ‘understand science;’ he began to develop a system with which to distinguish science from ‘non-science’ or ‘pseudo-science’. Popper coined this obstacle ‘the problem of demarcation. He attempted to deal with this problem by proposing a solution which he entitled ‘falsificationism,’ which claimed that ‘a hypothesis is scientific if and only if it has the potential to be refuted by some possible observation.’ Popper’s whole conception of how science should be understood and practiced was centered around the belief that when investigating a scientific theory, we should never increase our confidence in the truth of a theory as it has simply not yet been proven wrong. Popper maintained that we should never assume one theory to be closer to the truth than another as it is impossible to ever prove a theory, and in this sense we should approach scientific theories tentatively. Upon this framework of understanding, Popper...