Knowing and guessing

Summary Popper's methodology does not entail any playing down of the various indispensible distinctions such as the distinction between knowing and guessing, the distinction between myth and science, the distinction between the observational and the theoretical, and between the vernacular and technical sublanguages or technical vocabulary. By avoiding both the totalization that led to the foundationalist position and the scepticist reactions to these frustrated foundationalist hopes, Popper's methodology makes it possible to combine fallibilism with a realist view of theories. It combines the perennial willingness to re-examine positions, statements, etc. with the claim that a particular theory (as an item of knowledge in the objective sense) constitutes cognitive progress over its rivals. However, some of his formulations have been deliberately provocative and in this way have given rise to certain misgivings about possible paradoxical implications, even in philosophers congenial with Popper's approach. The concept of knowledge in the objective sense is, of course, an explicatum which Popper proposes primarily for use in methodology and epistemology. The concept is an expression of the acknowledgment of fallibility in principle. The phrasing that ‘knowledge is conjectural’ or ‘knowledge is fallible’, even when it refers to knowledge in the objective sense, is but an abbreviation for: since our methods for ascertaining the truth-value of a particular statement about empirical reality are fallible in principle, there cannot be any certain knowledge about reality. In everyday life and in politics tolerance will be possible to the extent to which the recognition of this fallibility is more than a declaration
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DOI 10.1007/BF01801189
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References found in this work BETA
K. R. Popper (1966). Conjectures and Refutations. Les Etudes Philosophiques 21 (3):431-434.

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Citations of this work BETA
Marco Buzzoni (2011). Rethinking Popper and His Legacy. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (3):309-321.
Jules Speller (1988). Ein Argumentationsspiel Um Das Münchhausen-Trilemma. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 19 (1):37-61.

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