Karl Popper and Falsifiability Essay

Karl Popper and Falsifiability Essay

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Karl Popper and Falsifiability


Karl Popper's claim that "the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability" is a clearly viable statement. This is a natural extension of his idea about how scientific knowledge is increased (Edwards, 1967). In an attempt to define science from pseudo-science, Popper states that the growth of scientific knowledge begins with an "imaginative proposal of hypotheses" (Edwards, 1967). Then, the scientist must search for illustrations or situations that falsify or negate the hypothesis. Finally, after rigorous attempts have been made to find the hypothesis untrue, the scientist may tentatively accept the hypothesis as true. However, if the hypothesis is found untrue, the scientist must reject his hypothesis . Therefore, Popper has set forth not only a definition of a scientific theory, but also an environment wherein scientists can work. Popper is discriminating in his definition of an "imaginative" hypothesis. Popper intends that a hypothesis must predict a phenomenon or behavior and not just offer to explain it. Traditionally, scientists have formed hypotheses in an attempt to explain or rationalize some natural phenonmen that they have examined. That is, hypotheses are presented as justification for an observation. The two-sphere model of the universe that existed in pre-Copernican times is an excellent example of this method. The ancients needed a model with which to justify the constantly changing positions of the moon and planets. Instead of being based on subjective observations, a hypothesis should be the sole product of a scientist's imagination. Popper calls this "an irrational element" or a "creative intuition" (Williams, 1989). Sir Isaac Newton is an excellent exam...


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... scientific community learns from the experience and knowledge becomes a cumulative project. Popper does a great service to the scientific community by stating and refining the obvious way science has worked for centuries.

References

a. Edwards, Paul, Editor-in-Chief. Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Volumes 5 and 6. (1967), pp 398-401.

b. Gillespie, Charles C. Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Volumes I, X, and XI. (1975), pp 250-258, 186- 202, 401, 410.

c. Klemke, E. D. , et al. Introductory Readings in the Philosophy of Science. (1988), pp 19-27.

d. O'Hear, Anthony. Karl Popper. (1989), pp 96-111.

e. Westfall, Richard. Never at Rest: A Biography of Isaac Newton. (1980), pp 170-181.

f. Who' s Who in Science. (1967), pp 1257, 1381, 61.

g, Williams, Douglas E. Truth, Hope, and Power: The Thought of Karl Popper. (1989), pp 61-73.

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