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Karl Popper (1902-1992)

 

Explanations > Social Research > Theorists > Karl Popper (1902-1992)

Key points | Discussion | See also

Key points

Challenge of Positivist use of induction and verification. Proposed falsification as key method.

Key text: Logik der Forschung (1934), The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959)

Key philosophies: Empiricism, Critical Rationalism

Discussion

Popper saw Positivism being severely criticized and wanted to rescue the underlying ideas of the scientific method. He called his method Critical Rationalism.

He highlighted two problems with induction: the psychological problem of finding what you are expecting to find and the logical problem around the leap from talking about experience to what we have not experienced.

He thus found 'common sense' as a scientific justification inadequate method of prediction and statements about what we have not experienced cannot be deemed as 100% 'true'.

He also noted that a verificationist approach is less likely to result in new discoveries, as it simply seeks to confirm the beliefs of the scientist.

Logical Positivists set the demarcation criteria between science and non-science around observability. In his Hypothetico-deductive model, Popper moved this to testability in the sequence:

1. Consider phenomena

2. Observation and Generation of Ideas

3. Development of Testable Hypothesis

4. Systematic Observation

5. Data Analysis

6. Testing of Hypothesis

 

7a. Hypothesis Falsified (Refuted)

8a. Reject and / or Revise Hypothesis (return to step 3)

-- or --

7b. Hypothesis is confirmed

8b. Theory (Consists of confirmed hypotheses)

 

9. Prediction

 

See also

Rationalism, Empiricism

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