Popper 's Theory Vs. Scientific Theory Essay

Popper 's Theory Vs. Scientific Theory Essay

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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 clearly laid out but his conclusion may pose a problem. Still, Popper brings up a number of factors that complicate our ability to produce empirical, justified theory. His conclusion has interesting implications for what scientific knowledge is, and if humans can truly have it. Accepting this view has interesting implications for the nature of empirical knowledge, and could positively affect the way we pursue that knowledge.
He begins with the problem of psychologism, which he defines as “the doctrine that empirical sciences are reducible to sense-perceptions” (“Logic of Scientific Discovery,” 74). 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 t...


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... solid bedrock,” he continues to describe it as “a building erected on piles …, driven down from above into the swamp, but not down to any natural or ‘given’ base” (“Logic of Scientific Discovery,” 94). He gives a reminder at the end of this chapter, that “if we stop driving the piles deeper, it is not because we have reached firm ground” (“Logic of Scientific Discovery,” 94). The firm ground he refers to is truth, or an ultimate source of knowledge, which could be entirely unattainable. We must continue going deeper until we are satisfied, but must remember that eventually, we will sink further. The value in accepting Popper’s view lies in the understanding that scientific knowledge is not a determined point we must reach, but something we continually strive towards. While this implies an infinite pursuit, it also means we are not limited in what we may discover.

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