Over the last four decades arguments for and against the claim that creative hypothesis formation is based on Darwinian ‘blind’ variation have been put forward. This paper offers a new and systematic route through this long-lasting debate. It distinguishes between undirected, random, and unjustified variation, to prevent widespread confusions regarding the meaning of undirected variation. These misunderstandings concern Lamarckism, equiprobability, developmental constraints, and creative hypothesis formation. The paper then introduces and develops the standard critique that creative hypothesis formation is guided (...) rather than blind, integrating developments from contemporary research on creativity. On that basis, I discuss three compatibility arguments that have been used to answer the critique. These arguments do not deny guided variation but insist that an important analogy exists nonetheless. These compatibility arguments all fail, even though they do so for different reasons: trivialisation, conceptual confusion, and lack of evidence respectively. Revisiting the debate in this manner not only allows us to see where exactly a ‘Darwinian’ account of creative hypothesis formation goes wrong, but also to see that the debate is not about factual issues, but about the interpretation of these factual issues in Darwinian terms. (shrink)
In Popper's Logik der Forschung, a theoretical system is a set of sentences that describe a particular sub-area of science, in particular of empirical science. The goal of axiomatizing a theoretical system is to specify a small number of "axioms" describing all presuppositions of the sub-area under consideration, so that all other sentences of this system can be derived from them by means of logical or mathematical transformations. The paper discusses two philosophical interpretations of these proper axioms. First, proper axioms (...) stipulate the use of the signs for the basic concepts of the system. Consequently, the proper axioms turn out to be analytic relative to a class of interpretations of the underlying logic. Hence, they cannot be falsified by refuting their logical consequences because these consequences are analytic as well. Secondly, proper axioms are synthetic, falsifiable and uncertain sentences. Hence, they are not immunized against falsification by refuting their logical consequences. (shrink)
In Polish philosophical literature, especially didactic, a stereotype of Popper as a neopositivist is suprisingly stubborn. This stereotype does not help in understanding the relation between Popper and Vienna Circle, and the evolution of Popper's own views. Antimetaphysical bias of the neopositivists stands in evident contradiction to Popper's approach, who based his conceptual system on metaphysical ideas. In the article I qrgue that „late” Popper did not conctradict himself from the Vienna period. I show that „Logik der Forschung” is usually (...) read through the neopositivistic filter, and that is why Popper's statements are so often misinterpreted. (shrink)
Shown here is that a constraint used by Popper in The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959) for calculating the absolute probability of a universal quantification, and one introduced by Stalnaker in "Probability and Conditionals" (1970, 70) for calculating the relative probability of a negation, are too weak for the job. The constraint wanted in the first case is in Bendall (1979) and that wanted in the second case is in Popper (1959).
Realism and the Aim of Science is one of the three volumes of Karl Popper’s Postscript to the Logic of scientific Discovery. The Postscript is the culmination of Popper’s work in the philosophy of physics and a new famous attack on subjectivist approaches to philosophy of science. Realism and the Aim of Science is the first volume of the Postcript . Popper here formulates and explains his non-justificationist theory of knowledge: science aims at true explanatory theories, yet it can never (...) prove, or justify, any theory to be true, not even if is a true theory. Science must continue to question and criticise all its theories, even those that happen to be true. Realism and the Aim of Science presents Popper’s mature statement on scientific knowledge and offers important insights into his thinking on problems of method within science. (shrink)
Karl Popper is certainly one of the major philosophers of the century, and in working through the near thousand pages of his newly published Postscript one can see why. Only the big issues are dealt with; they are always treated with great clarity; and the conclusions are profound. In spite ofthis, however, these three volumes are ultimately disappointing, since they tell us little new about Popper's thinking.
It is often claimed that there can be no such thing as a logic of scientific discovery, but only a logic of verification. By 'logic of discovery' is usually meant a normative theory of discovery processes. The claim that such a normative theory is impossible is shown to be incorrect; and two examples are provided of domains where formal processes of varying efficacy for discovering lawfulness can be constructed and compared. The analysis shows how one can treat operationally and formally (...) phenomena that have usually been dismissed with fuzzy labels like 'intuition' and 'creativity'. (shrink)
Described by the philosopher A.J. Ayer as a work of 'great originality and power', this book revolutionized contemporary thinking on science and knowledge. Ideas such as the now legendary doctrine of 'falsificationism' electrified the scientific community, influencing even working scientists, as well as post-war philosophy. This astonishing work ranks alongside The Open Society and Its Enemies as one of Popper's most enduring books and contains insights and arguments that demand to be read to this day.