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CRITICAL EVALUATION OF KARL POPPER’S PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE

Project Topic: A Critical Evaluation of Karl Popper’s Philosophy of Science


CHAPTER ONE

1.0       INTRODUCTION

1.1       BACKGROUND OF STUDY

Over the years, scientific theories have been in progress. With this progress in the history of science, many philosophers and scientists have been faced with many problems: the problem of how to account for scientific discoveries; lack of appropriate method of scientific achievements; the utility, and the question of truth and certainty of these discoveries. To answer these problems a number of ideologies emerged. The Instrumentalists,[1] for instance, deny that scientific theories about unobservable can be accepted as the description of an observable world. For them such theories are best useful instruments for generating observational predictions. The Realists[2] have it that science sets out to explain and understand nature. Theoretical entities for them are postulated in a true scientific theory to explain that observable phenomena are real, that they are independently existing things; the Relativists[3]  on the other hand believe that there is no objective truth. Truth for them depends on the community that claims it.

Among these varied conceptions of the history of science, my project focuses on Karl Popper’s philosophy of science. Against the induction and demarcation of the logical positivists, Popper proposed that science relies on putting forward a hypothesis and then criticizing it. For him, as long as the hypothesis is falsifiable, the objectivity of science is assured. But his theory rather than solving the problems of induction, created many problems and attracted many criticisms. Thomas Kuhn, for instance, challenges Popper’s stand on historical ground; Paul Feyerabend argues against his method of scientific progress; Lakatos corrected his mistakes of falsification.

It is these problems and criticisms of Popper’s philosophy of science that led to the topic of this project: Critical Evaluation of Karl Popper’s philosophy of Science.

1.2       STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

As earlier stated, Karl Popper’s philosophy of science deals with putting forward hypothesis in a conjectural form and then severely criticizing it. For him, as far as theories are falsifiable, then there must be growth in scientific knowledge. His method of science raises many problems which are as follows:

(a)     Lack of historical approach to scientific discoveries.

(b)     Lack of scientific method in the empirical sciences.

(c)     The problem of verisimilitude in his theory.

(d)    The problem of demarcation in his theory.

(e)     Lack of practical approach or practical applicability of his theory.

(f)     Science does not undergo revolution as his theory shows.

(g)     Some of the discoveries he advocates for are yet to be falsified.

(h)     His criticisms and critical testing is not a criterion for growth of knowledge.

These are Popper’s basic problems which I shall attempt to resolve in this project.

1.3.      PURPOSE OF STUDY

In this project, I wish to expose Karl Popper’s philosophy of science, to show his efforts in reviving the rational tradition that has been mistaken by induction and positivism, and also to perform a critical evaluation by showing the loopholes in his notion of science.

1.4       SCOPE OF STUDY

In this research, my concern is to make a proper study of Karl Popper’s philosophy of science and to criticize his view especially with the views of other philosophers of science.

1.5       SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The significance of this project is that it lays bare the major problems of Karl Popper’s methodology in science. These problems are raised in order to give the appropriate solutions to the lapses of Popper and also to suggest a better method and ways that will account for progress in science.

1.6       METHODOLOGY OF RESEARCH

This project is based mostly on the original books of different authors in philosophy of science, the library and the internet were a major help, articles and journals included.

—This article is incomplete———–This article is incomplete———— It was extracted from a well articulated quality Project, Research Work/Material

Topic: A Critical Evaluation of Karl Popper’s Philosophy of Science

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[1] Hunderich, T. (ed). The Oxford Companion of Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. p. 809

[2] Mautner, T. (ed). The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy. London: Penguin Books. 2000. p. 472.

[3] Hunderich. The Oxford Companion of Philosophy. p. 810

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