Popper Psychoologism And Perception

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Popper claims basic statements are not justified by experience, but accepted by choice or convention. This claim is argued through a rejection of ‘psychologism’ and inductivism. According to Popper, scientific theory can be seen the fog above a swamp full of basic statements; the acceptance of a theory comes from an evaluation of basic statements and the conscious decision to accept or reject the theory. Popper comes to this conclusion after considering the problem of psychologism, distinguishing science from non-science, examining the falsification of theories and their testability, and then comparing perceptual experience and basic statements to illustrate how we come to form and accept scientific theory as empirical. Poppers arguments are…show more content…
Popper states that the decision to accept a basic statement is connected to experiences in that they can motivate a decision, but a basic statement cannot be justified by experiences. The problem seems to be that he sees theories as statements about the world, similar to basic statements, therefore theory can be motivated by experience but not justified by it; or, the motivation to accept a theory can be experience, but we cannot justify theory with that motivation. It may help to consider how Popper feels about theory. He believes that “theories are nets cast to catch what we call ‘the world’: to rationalize, to explain, and to master it … [and that] we endeavor to make the mesh ever finer and finer” (“Logic of Scientific Discovery,” 59). It is difficult to find where justification fits into this; Popper is not clear on where the justification can come from, and even seems to imply that scientific theories cannot truly be justified. In “Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge,” Popper goes as far as to say “what we should do … is to give up the idea of ultimate sources of knowledge, and admit that all knowledge is human; that it is mixed with our errors, our prejudices, our dreams, and our hopes; that all we can do is to grope for truth even though it be beyond our reach”…show more content…
Testing a theory typically means attempting to disprove the theory, and Popper would argue this is the only way to establish it as empirical or scientific. The history of science shows that theories are constantly being disproved and re-written, as we look back at theories such as the earth being the center of the universe, which was accepted as scientific knowledge at the time. The same process can be seen for nearly every piece of scientific knowledge. Popper would say this is an example of the unstable bedrock of science, with current theory simply being the highest point, but still made of this metaphorical swamp of human
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