Karl Popper and Falsifiability Essay

Karl Popper and Falsifiability Essay

Length: 1346 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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...

... middle of paper ...

... 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.


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.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Sir Karl Popper's Falsifiability Claim Essay

- Sir Karl Popper's Falsifiability Claim Popper's claim that "the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability" (Klemke, 1988) may be viewed as an observation of, rather than a complete departure from, earlier criteria for science. Klemke states in his introduction to part one (p. 16) that defining science (or the scientific method) has traditionally consisted of utilizing seven criteria that must be met in a specific order. Criteria number (5) and (6) refer to deduction rather than induction, and will negate criterion (4) if not met....   [tags: Sir Karl Popper Science Essays]

Free Essays
765 words (2.2 pages)

Sir Karl Popper's Falsifiability Claim Essay

- Sir Karl Popper's Falsifiability Claim Popper asserts that "it is easy to obtain confirmations, or verifications, for nearly every theory--if we look for confirmations." Kuhn illustrates (page 6), in his discussion of cosmologies, that man needs a structure for his universe. Man needs to explain the physical relation between his personal habitat and nature in order to feel at home. Explaining this relation gives meaning to his actions. Moreover, Kuhn says observation is a double edged sword (page 7)....   [tags: Sir Karl Popper Science Theories Essays]

Strong Essays
832 words (2.4 pages)

Karl Popper's Falsifiability Essay

- Karl Popper's Falsifiability Sir Karl Popper's lecture was very thought provoking concerning "where to draw the line." Unlike most people, the validity of the theory was not his concern as much as how that validity is determined. This is an issue that really does not get the attention that it deserves. Popper's claims concerning, "When should a theory be ranked as scientific?" and "Is there a criterion for the scientific character or status of a theory?" seems to be put together in the following summary....   [tags: Scientific Method Science]

Strong Essays
978 words (2.8 pages)

The Scientific Method Of Critical Rationalism Essay

- Voltaire said “the perfect is the enemy of the good” (Voltaire 74). In striving for a perfect definition and application of scientific analysis, Karl Popper established an impractical and ineffective approach to science. In this paper, I will discuss the premises and principles behind Popper’s scientific method of critical rationalism. I will then explain where I believe his method succeeds, where it fails, and why I consider his method both impractical and ineffective. I will do so by first explaining his thoughts on science versus the status quo, then I will take the position that his approach is flawed and impractical, and lastly conclude with a commentary on why truth has to be flexible....   [tags: Scientific method, Falsifiability, Karl Popper]

Strong Essays
1434 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on Karl Popper : The Search For Extraterrestrial Life

- Karl Popper questions if the search for extraterrestrial life can be called science or not. According to him, in order for anything to be considered science it must be falsifiable and for that it has to have a test that can falsify it. Karl Popper says that the criteria for science is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability. Considering Popper’s argument, it can be seen clearly that the search for Extraterrestrial life is actually not science because we can only try to find if life exists and not if life doesn’t exist, so we can’t find evidence that could falsify life anywhere on the Universe....   [tags: Scientific method, Falsifiability, Life, Earth]

Strong Essays
718 words (2.1 pages)

Conjectures and Refutations by Sir Karl Popper Essay

- Conjectures and Refutations by Sir Karl Popper In a broad sense science is a systematic quest for knowledge. With this working definition in mind one can see that many areas of human endeavors could qualify as science. Therefore, Popper attempts to find a point of demarcation between science and psuedo-science. "Is there a criterion for the scientific character or status of theory."(1) The most widely accepted answer to this problem Popper says is induction and empirical method. At this point I find it necessary to define these two terms....   [tags: Science Sir Karl Popper Scientists Essays]

Free Essays
1106 words (3.2 pages)

Popper and Kuhn: Two Views of Science Essay example

- Popper and Kuhn: Two Views of Science In this essay I attempt to answer the following two questions: What is Karl Popper’s view of science. Do I feel that Thomas Kuhn makes important points against it. The two articles that I make reference to are "Science: Conjectures and Refutations" by Karl Popper and "Logic of Discovery or Psychology of Research?" by Thomas Kuhn. In the article, "Science: Conjectures and Refutations", Karl Popper attempts to describe the criteria that a theory must meet for it to be considered scientific....   [tags: Science Scientific Essays Popper Kuhn]

Strong Essays
1441 words (4.1 pages)

Sir Karl Popper Essay

- Sir Karl Popper Sir Karl Popper's intent in "Science: Conjectures and Refutations" from Klemke's Philosophy of Science is to fortify distinctions between the classes (and, we suppose, the quality) of intellectual discourse in his era, distinctions which were far less precise then than they are today. Popper's argument, in essence, maintains that a number of scientific theories are pseudoscientific at best, owing to the "anything goes" nature of their power to explain. The broad acceptance of such theories owes much to the satisfaction derived from their proponents in using them to justify a preferred response, whatever the data or observations truly imply....   [tags: Philosophy of Science Klemke Essays]

Free Essays
975 words (2.8 pages)

Hellenistic and Hellenic Interpretation of Popper Essay

- Hellenistic and Hellenic Interpretation of Popper Sir Karl Popper states in his treatise "Philosophy of Science: a Personal Report" asserts that "the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability" (Popper 23). He claims that a 'good' scientific theory must meet a single requirement: its capability of being tested. In other words, a good theory predicts future observations, and the accuracy of the prediction supports or refutes it. If a theory can't be tested then it isn't scientific....   [tags: Scientific Theories Science Essays]

Free Essays
2385 words (6.8 pages)

Essay on Redefining Science

- Scientists and philosophers often times differ and debate on what the definition of science is. Therefore, science has come to hold different meanings for various philosophers including Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn. Karl Popper was a philosopher who made significant contributions to philosophy of science and has convinced a lot of scientists. He was decisive of the inductive techniques used by science and insisted that science is deductive. Popper was furthermore critical of the inexperienced empiricist analysis that we objectively scrutinize the world....   [tags: Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn]

Strong Essays
2031 words (5.8 pages)