Thursday, December 17, 2020

Review of The Logic of Scientific Discovery by Karl Popper

This review was written by Eugene Kernes

Book can be found in:
Genre = Philosophy, Epistemology
Intriguing Connections = What Makes Science A Science?

Short Description

Elaborate Description

This is an epistemological approach to science.  Explaining the methodology of empirical science.  What matters is the testability of the claims and hypothesis, or rather, the ability to falsify them.  The tests need not be done, but they must have the capacity of being tested.  The method of exposing to falsification the systems to be tested, the ideas to be refuted.  Statements made via falsifications cannot be verified or justified, as more tests can be done.  Testing ends when the researcher decides to end them, preventing an infinite regression of tests.  It is a decision that researcher make to end the testing when satisfied with the result, albeit a temporary end. 

In order to have a rational discussion in science, the researchers need feedback from each other ideas and those who came before.  The search is for feedback not to support the conclusions, but to refute them.  Many researchers use the inductive method of making inferences, but the problem with the inductive method is that no matter the amount of data gathered, inferences are subject to being altered to potential additional data.  Theories try to explain the world, with the aim to refine the theories further.  Theories fate depend on decision being made whether to accept or reject them.  The empirical information within a theory depends on the degree with which it is falsifiable.  A big portion of the book deal with proving that probability is not scientific as the frequency results cannot be verified no matter how numerous and favorable. 

The book becomes progressively more difficult to read.  After the explanation of basic ideas, the author uses logical and mathematical proofs to showcase examples about the ideas. But to understand them requires having a lot of background knowledge in those areas.  Some parts may be difficult to read as this is a translated book.  At times, Popper uses reflections to make comment on a topic, reflections on what other people thought about certain ideas.  The problem is that sometimes it is difficult to know what Popper is reflecting on, as the ideas from others are given too short of a synopsis.

Questions to Consider while Reading the Book

•What is the raison d’etre of the book?  For what purpose did the author write the book?
•Why is the linguistic approach to philosophy inadequate? 
•What does rational discussion require? 
•How should feedback influence the problems and solutions?
•Why does science require falsification? 
•When does testing scientific statements end?
•What are theories?  What do they depend on? 
•Can probability verify scientific statements? 

Book Details
Edition ISBN:  9780415278447
Pages to read:   498
Publication:     2002
1st Edition:      1935
Format:           Paperback

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    2
Content          3
Overall           2