About this topic
Summary Sir Karl Popper (1902-1994) was an Austrian-born philosopher who for the most significant period of his career held a position at the London School of Economics.  Popper was a philosopher of science, who also made contributions in epistemology, philosophy of mind and social and political philosophy.  He argued that scientific theories are distinguished from non-scientific theories and pseudo-science by being falsifiable claims about the world.  Popper proposed a "solution" to the problem of induction by arguing that there is no need for induction in the scientific method.  The method of science is to propose conjectural theories which are then submitted to rigorous tests in the attempt to falsify them.  Theories which fail these tests are to be rejected.  Theories which survive attempts to refute them may be accepted tentatively, but are not proven to be true.  At best, they may be highly corroborated.  This "falsificationist" philosophy of science has a more general application beyond the method of the sciences.  The attempt to falsify a theory is an attempt to criticize the theory.  For Popper, criticism lies at the heart of rational thought, which he took to consist in the method of critical discussion and reflection.  The resulting general position is known as "critical rationalism".  Popper extended these ideas as well into the social and political realm.  He introduced the distinction between open and closed societies.  Open societies welcome and foster critical discussion and change whereas closed societies, which are usually tribal societies, are based on unchanging social custom and ritual.
Key works The classic statement of Popper's philosophy of science is The Logic of Scientific Discovery.  Perhaps the best introduction to his work is his collection of essays, Conjectures and Refutations.  Popper's social and political thought may be found in The Poverty of Historicism and The Open Society and its Enemies.  A good anthology of his writings has been edited by David Miller, Popper Selections.  A useful way into Popper's ideas is by way of his intellectual autobiography, Unended Quest, as is Bryan Magee's short book, Popper.  Alan Musgrave's Common Sense, Science and Scepticism presents a broadly Popperian introduction to epistemology.  David Miller's Critical Rationalism presents good discussion of many critical points that have been made against Popper's views.  Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, edited by Imre Lakatos and Alan Musgrave, contains a number of important papers which bring Popper's views into contact with T.S. Kuhn's theory of science.  Wesley Salmon's 'Rational Prediction' is an important criticism of Popper's solution to the problem of induction.  See also Adolf Grunbaum's paper 'Is the method of bold conjectures and attempted refutations justifiably the method of science?'.
Introductions A good place to start is the entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Thornton 2008.  Alan Chalmers provides an introductory discussion in What is this thing called science?, chapters 4-6.  Gurol Irzik provides an overview in 'Critical Rationalism', and Alan Musgrave presents his interpretation of Popper's solution of the problem of induction in his paper 'How Popper (might have) solved the problem of induction'.
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  1. Physics as Metaphor: An Inaugural Lecture Given in the University of Fort Hare on the 9th May, 1974.R. H. Hobart - 1974
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  2. Popper on Learning from Experience'.Joseph Agassi - 1969 - In Peter Achinstein (ed.), Studies in the philosophy of science. Oxford,: published by Basil Blackwell with the cooperation of the University of Pittsburg. pp. 162--71.
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  3. Review: K. R. Popper, William Kneale, A. J. Ayer, Symposium: What Can Logic Do for Philosophy? [REVIEW]Charles A. Baylis - 1954 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 19 (4):290-290.
  4. The Lakatosian revolution.Joseph Agassi - 1976 - In R. S. Cohen, P. K. Feyerabend & M. Wartofsky (eds.), Essays in Memory of Imre Lakatos. Reidel. pp. 9--21.
  5. Popper's Conception of the Rationality Principle in the Social Sciences.Boudewijn de Bruin - 2006 - In Ian Jarvie, David Miller & Karl Milford (eds.), Karl Popper: A Centenary Assessment: Selected Papers from Karl Popper 2002: Volume III: Science. Ashgate.
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  6. Theoretical Bias in Evidence: A Historical Sketch.Joseph Agassi - 1983 - Philosophica 31 (1):7-24.
    The studies of theoretical bias in evidence are these days developed by many clever psychologists, social psychologists, and philosophers. It therefore comes as a surprise to realize that most of the material one can find in the up-to -date literature repeats discoveries which are due to the heroes of the present sketch, namely Galileo Galilei, Sir Francis Bacon, and Robert Boyle; William Whewell, Pierre Duhem, and Karl Popper. We may try to raise scholarly standards by familiarizing ourselves with their ideas (...)
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  7. The philosophy of Karl Popper.W. W. Bartley - 1976 - Philosophia 6 (3-4):463-494.
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Popper: Epistemology
  1. Penser l'épistémologie de Karl Popper.Marcel Nguimbi - 2012 - Paris: L'Harmattan.
    Cet ouvrage interroge le penser épistémologique de K.R. Popper, à la fois dans ses fondements et dans son déploiement, en posant deux questions épistémo-logiques : celle du " paradoxe méthodologique" et celle de " l'exigence d'élargissement de la formule de la croissance du savoir scientifique.".
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  2. Interrogating Edmund Gettier’s Idea of Justification with Karl Popper’s Anti-Foundationalism.Michael Aina Akande - 2021 - In Oseni Taiwo Afisi (ed.), Karl Popper and Africa: Knowledge, Politics and Development. Springer. pp. 247-256.
    Karl Popper’s ‘non-foundationalist’ critical rationalism had been established before Edmund Gettier came up with his analysis of knowledge. Popper’s critique of foundationalism shook the foundation of the hall mark of Western traditional epistemology as defended by Descartes, the logical empiricists and invariably Gettier. The position I am defending in this paper is that, Gettier is not correct to have presented the epistemic agent in his counterexamples as justified. I have arrived at this conclusion because it is uncritical of Smith to (...)
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  3. Notas sobre el principio de racionalidad.Agustina Borella - 2006 - Revista Libertas (45):1-5.
    El objetivo del presente trabajo es señalar algunas primeras aproximaciones a la cuestión del principio de racionalidad en el pensamiento de Karl Popper. Si bien este tema específicamente pareciera no mostrarse con precisión, (cuestión marcada por diversos autores), al menos no como lo es su propuesta falsacionista, se intentará retomar las principales notas sobre el principio de racionalidad e indicar algunas aproximaciones al debate epistemológico que surge en torno a este principio.
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  4. Chess Masters' Hypothesis Testing.Michelle B. Cowley-Cunningham - 2004 - In K. D. Forbus, D. Gentner & Regier (eds.), Proceedings of the Twenty- Sixth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. pp. pp. 250- 255..
    Falsification may demarcate science from non-science as the rational way to test the truth of hypotheses. But experimental evidence from studies of reasoning shows that people often find falsification difficult. We suggest that domain expertise may facilitate falsification. We consider new experimental data about chess experts’ hypothesis testing. The results show that chess masters were readily able to falsify their plans. They generated move sequences that falsified their plans more readily than novice players, who tended to confirm their plans. The (...)
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  5. Falsificationism is not just ‘potential’ falsifiability, but requires ‘actual’ falsification: Social psychology, critical rationalism, and progress in science.Peter Holtz & Peter Monnerjahn - 2017 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 47 (3):348-362.
    Based on an analysis of ten popular introductions to social psychology, we will show that Karl Popper's philosophy of ‘critical rationalism’ so far has had little to no traceable influence on the epistemology and practice of social psychology. If Popper is quoted or mentioned in the textbooks at all, the guiding principle of ‘falsificationism’ is reduced to a mere ‘falsifiability’ and some central elements of critical rationalism are left out – those that are incompatible with positivism and inductivism. Echoing earlier (...)
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  6. A Sceptical Look at “A Skeptical Look at Karl Popper”.J. C. Lester - 2011 - In Jan Lester (ed.), Arguments for Liberty: A Libertarian Miscellany. Buckingham: The University of Buckingham Press. pp. 102-107.
    It is an irony to attack a more sceptical epistemology than one's own in the name of scepticism and defend, instead, an epistemology that is positively illogical. And yet that is what Martin Gardner has done in his “A Skeptical Look at Karl Popper.”.
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  7. Popper: una lectura escéptica.Isidoro Reguera Pérez - 2003 - Endoxa 1 (17):327.
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  8. Popper's Critical Rationalism: A Philosophical Investigation.Darrell P. Rowbottom - 2010 - New York: Routledge.
    Popper’s Critical Rationalism presents Popper’s views on science, knowledge, and inquiry, and examines the significance and tenability of these in light of recent developments in philosophy of science, philosophy of probability, and epistemology. It develops a fresh and novel philosophical position on science, which employs key insights from Popper while rejecting other elements of his philosophy.
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  9. Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge.Karl Raimund Popper - 1962 - London, England: Routledge.
    The way in which knowledge progresses, and especially our scientific knowledge, is by unjustified anticipations, by guesses, by tentative solutions to our problems, by conjectures. These conjectures are controlled by criticism: that is, by attempted refutations, which include severely critical tests. They may survive these tests; but they can never be positively justified: they can neither be established as certainly true nor even as 'probable'. Criticism of our conjectures is of decisive importance: by bringing out our mistakes it makes us (...)
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  10. The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge.Troels Eggers Hansen (ed.) - 2008 - New York: Routledge.
    In a letter of 1932, Karl Popper described _Die beiden Grundprobleme der Erkenntnistheorie – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge_ – as ‘…a child of crises, above all of …the crisis of physics.’ Finally available in English, it is a major contribution to the philosophy of science, epistemology and twentieth century philosophy generally. The two fundamental problems of knowledge that lie at the centre of the book are the problem of induction, that although we are able to (...)
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  11. Critical rationalism.Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - unknown
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  12. Critical Rationalism and Scientific Competition.Max Albert - 2010 - Analyse & Kritik 32 (2):247-266.
    This paper considers critical rationalism under an institutional perspective. It argues that a methodology must be incentive compatible in order to prevail in scientific competition. As shown by a formal game-theoretic model of scientific competition, incentive compatibility requires quality standards that are hereditary: using high-quality research as an input must increase a researcher’s chances to produce high-quality output. Critical rationalism is incentive compatible because of the way it deals with the Duhem-Quine problem. An example from experimental economics illustrates the relevance (...)
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  13. Popper, Kuhn and Laudan on the Rationality of Science. A Shared View.Agnieszka Lekka-Kowalik - 1997 - In Julian Nida-Rümelin & Georg Meggle (eds.), Analyomen 2, Volume I: Logic, Epistemology, Philosophy of Science. De Gruyter. pp. 421-430.
  14. Foundations of Objective Knowledge: The Relations of Popper's Theory of Knowledge to That of Kant's.Sergio L. De C. Fernandes & Sergio L. Fernandez - 1985 - Springer Verlag.
    Kant and Popper. The affmity between the philosophy of Kant and the philosophy of Karl Popper has often been noted, and most decisively in Popper's own reflections on his thought. But in this work before us, Sergio Fernandes has given a cogent, comprehensive, and challenging investigation of Kant which differs from what we may call Popper's Kant while nevertheless showing Kant as very much a precursor of Popper. The investigation is directly conceptual, although Fernandes has also contributed to a novel (...)
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  15. Karl Popper e Sherlock Holmes.Massimo Baldini - 1998 - Armando Editore.
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  16. Khuråafat Al-Waòd°Åiyah Al-Manòtiqåiyah.Måahir °abd al-qåadir Muòhammad °alåi - 1993 - Dåar Al-Ma°Rifah Al-Jåami°Åiyah.
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  17. Kultura a vědecká racionalita.Nikolaj Demjančuk & Břetislav Fajkus (eds.) - 2002 - Dobrá Voda u Pelhřimova: Aleš Čeněk.
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  18. William Berkson and John Wettersten, Learning from Error: Karl Popper's Psychology of Learning Reviewed by. [REVIEW]Sheldon Richmond - 1987 - Philosophy in Review 7 (1):1-3.
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  19. Alan Nelson, ed., A Companion to Rationalism.J. Miller - 2007 - Philosophy in Review 27 (3):208.
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  20. Rational Rabbis: Its Project and Argument.Menachem Fisch - 2006 - Journal of Textual Reasoning 4 (2).
    0. Rational Rabbis aspires to make two main points, one philosophical and contemporary, the other interpretative and historical. The book’s philosophical undertaking, presented in Part I, is to develop a central insight of Karl Popper’s into a more fuller theory of rational endeavor. The book’s interpretative and main undertaking, presented in Part II, is to argue (a) that the talmudic literature bears clear witness to a tannaitic view of humanly possible intellectual achievement intriguingly akin to the theory of rationality proposed (...)
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  21. El empirismo crítico de Karl Popper.Ana Rosa Pérez Ransanz - 2004 - Signos Filosóficos 6 (11s):15-33.
    The present essay inserts itself in a more ambitious project, wich aim is to elucidate the empiricist commitments of the more influential twentieth century philosophers of science, including those, like Popper, who presented themselves as critics of empiricism. Such an elucidation might contribut..
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  22. Induktion und Wahrscheinlichkeit. Ein Gedankenaustausch mit Karl Popper.Georg J. W. Dorn - 2002 - In Edgar Morscher (ed.), Was wir Karl R. Popper und seiner Philosophie verdanken. Zu seinem 100. Geburtstag. Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag.
    Zwischen 1987 und 1994 sandte ich 20 Briefe an Karl Popper. Die meisten betrafen Fragen bezüglich seiner Antiinduktionsbeweise und seiner Wahrscheinlichkeitstheorie, einige die organisatorische und inhaltliche Vorbereitung eines Fachgesprächs mit ihm in Kenly am 22. März 1989 (worauf hier nicht eingegangen werden soll), einige schließlich ganz oder in Teilen nicht-fachliche Angelegenheiten (die im vorliegenden Bericht ebenfalls unberücksichtigt bleiben). Von Karl Popper erhielt ich in diesem Zeitraum 10 Briefe. Der bedeutendste ist sein siebter, bestehend aus drei Teilen, geschrieben am 21., 22. (...)
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  23. Falsification and belief.Stuart C. Brown - 1971 - Philosophical Books 12 (2):16-18.
  24. Engaging the World of the Supernatural: Anthropology, Phenomenology and the Limitations of Scientific Rationalism in the Study of the Supernatural.Theodore S. Petrus - 2006 - Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology 6 (1):1-12.
    Scientific rationalism has long been considered one of the pillars of true science. It has been one of the criteria academics have used in their efforts to categorise disciplines as scientific. Perhaps scientific rationalism acquired this privileged status because it worked relatively well within the context of the natural sciences, where it seemed to be easy to apply this kind of rationalism to the solution of natural scientific problems. However, with the split in the scientific world between the natural sciences (...)
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  25. Une antinomie dans l'épistémologie de K. Popper.Erik Oger - 1983 - Bijdragen 44 (4):415-427.
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  26. The publisher, the editor and the role of critical rationalism.Richard Abel - 1999 - Logos. Anales Del Seminario de Metafísica [Universidad Complutense de Madrid, España] 10 (1):35-40.
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  27. Karl Popper, The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge. Reviewed by. [REVIEW]Sheldon Richmond - 2012 - Philosophy in Review 32 (5):418-420.
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  28. Poppera trzeci świat okiem życzliwego krytyka.Andrzej Stępnik - 2006 - Filozofia Nauki 1.
    In the first part of the paper, the author presents Popper's theory of the objective knowledge and the three worlds in ten theses with a commentary, showing difficulties and vagueness of Popper's theory and trying to clarify it. The second part comprises discussion with a few Popper's theses. The author especially argues against the thesis about autonomy of the third world, and about epistemology limited to examination of only the objects from the third world. In relation to this, the author (...)
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  29. A Plea for a Historical Epistemology of Research.Hans-Jörg Rheinberger - 2012 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 43 (1):105-111.
    The paper approaches the topic of what a general philosophy of science could mean today from the perspective of a historical epistemology. Consequently, in a first step, the paper looks at the notion of generality in the sciences, and how it evolved over time, on the example of the life sciences. In the second part of the paper, the urgency of a general philosophy of science is located in the history of philosophy of science. Two attempts at the beginning of (...)
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  30. Karl Popper: A epistemologia como "terra de ninguém" ou da tarefa de re-construção da ciência.Henrique Jales Ribeiro - 1987 - Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 43 (1/2):71 - 108.
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  31. Philosophy and meta-philosophy of science: Empiricism, popperianism and realism.C. A. Hooker - 1975 - Synthese 32 (1-2):177 - 231.
    An explicit philosophy and meta-philosophy of positivism, empiricism and popperianism is provided. Early popperianism is argued to be essentially a form of empiricism, the deviations from empiricism are traced. In contrast, the meta-philosophy and philosophy of an evolutionary naturalistic realism is developed and it is shown how the maximal conflict of this doctrine with all forms of empiricism at the meta-philosophical level both accounts for the form of its development at the philosophical level and its defense against attack from nonrealist (...)
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  32. Justificationists Anonymous: Why we.Tony Lloyd - manuscript
    Why is Critical Rationalism not widely accepted? The perceived need for "good reasons" sourced in inductive verification has always mired Rationalism in a seemingly insoluble infinite regress. Critical Rationalism, on the other hand, cuts the Gordian knot by simply dispensing with any kind of verficatory support. David Miller attributes the "Mainstream's" stubborn resistance to Critical Rationalism to an addiction to so-called "good reasons". This paper suggests causes of this addiction: the craving for propositions that are in some way "forced" on (...)
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  33. Out of error: Further essays on critical rationalism David Miller ashgate, 2006, pp. 314, £55.Zuzana Parusniková - 2008 - Philosophy 83 (1):138-145.
  34. Extending Popper's epistemology to the lab.Daniel Rothbart - 1998 - Dialectica 52 (3):247–254.
    Although Popper rarely examined the “life of the laboratory” , some of his epistemic doctrines reveal important themes about knowledge‐acquisition in the laboratory sciences. In particular, when modern instruments are needed for exploring the subatomic realm, empirical evidence is dispositional in a Popperian sense. Evidence is defined conditionally with respect to a complex system of technological apparatus and theoretical judgments.After summarizing certain elements of Popper's epistemology , the character of observation in the laboratory sciences is explored . A conception of (...)
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Popper: Critical Rationalism
  1. The Moral Agent: A Critical Rationalist Perspective.Alireza Mansouri - 2024 - Philosophia 52.
    Despite the moral underpinnings of Karl Popper’s philosophy, he has not presented a well-established moral theory for critical rationalism (CR). This paper addresses the ontological status of _moral agents_ as part of a research program for developing a moral theory for CR. It argues that moral agents are _selves_ who have achieved the cognitive capacity of _personhood_ through an evolutionary scenario and interaction with the environment. This proposal draws on Popper’s theory of the self and his theory of three worlds, (...)
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  2. Rationalism Critical and Pancritical: What Did Popper and Bartley Disagree About?Dmytro Sepetyi - forthcoming - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science.
    In this article, I discuss the relationship between Karl Popper’s conception of critical rationalism and William Bartley’s conception of pancritical rationalism. Both Popper and Bartley tended to identify rationality with openness to criticism, but they are usually considered to be disagreeing about whether rationality is limited or comprehensive and whether or not it applies to moral attitudes. These traditional interpretations are found wanting, and I make the case that there is—and was—no genuine, substantial conflict between Popper’s critical and Bartley’s pancritical (...)
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  3. The ethical dimension of Karl Popper's critical rationalism", 'La dimensión ético del racionalismo crítico de Karl Popper.Carlos Blank - unknown
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  4. Renée Bouveresse, Karl Popper ou le rationalisme critique. Paris, Vrin, 1978. 13,5 × 21,5, 192 p.Jean Largeault - 1981 - Revue de Synthèse 102 (103-104):450-454.
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  5. Critical Rationalism and Post-Truth.Thomas Hainscho - 2023 - Journal of Philosophical Investigations 17 (42):91–106.
    ‘Post-truth’ has become a buzzword for numerous current crises: the fragmentation of the media landscape, the ongoing debate about ‘fake news’, the loss of trust in science, etc. Although these crises take place in society, it is claimed that the roots of post-truth can be traced back to the history of philosophy. Occasionally, it is asserted that Karl Popper’s critical rationalism gave rise to post-truth: His rejection of verificationism has limited truth claims in the realm of science. Given the absence (...)
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  6. Pragmatic Rationalism; Popper, Bartley and varieties of rationalism.William Berkson - 2023 - Journal of Philosophical Investigations 17 (42):140-150.
    Rational discussion guides, but does not compel individual decisions, and the best process of inquiry and decision should vary with a person’s goals and situation. Sir Karl Popper noted that after a result of observation or experiment has been obtained by independent researchers, scientists agree to reject as false theories that are contradicted by accepted facts. Popper, though, wrongly assumed this consensus also applies to acceptance for purposes of research. In reality researchers develop competing theories about which evidence is currently (...)
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  7. Popper: Critical Rationalist, Conventionalist, and Virtue Epistemologist.Patrick M. Duerr - 2023 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 13 (1):54-90.
    This article revisits Karl Popper’s falsificationist methodology with respect to three tasks. The first is to illuminate and systematize Popper’s methodological views in light of his core epistemological commitments. A second and related objective is to gauge which aspects of falsificationism should be identified as “conventionalist”—a label that Popper himself uses (albeit with qualifications) but that is compromised by and, thus, stands in need of elucidation because of Popper’s idiosyncratic understanding of conventionalism. Third, by elaborating Popper’s virtue-epistemological, dialogical model of (...)
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  8. van Fraassen's Empirical Stance: a Dogmatic or Rationalistic Approach?Mansouri Alireza - 2014 - Persian Journal for the Methodology of Social Sciences and Humanities 20 (79):137-152.
    In his Empirical Stance, van Fraassen introduces a new version of empiricism and elaborates its relation with science and religion. van Fraassen's empirical stance, characterized by a negative attitude towards metaphysics, is to result in a coherent view alongside his new epistemology called voluntarism - a non-dogmatic approach to rationality. This paper aims to show that its coherency is unstable. Because traces of dogmatism still plague van Fraassen's account of empiricism, and attempts to eliminate them lead to critical rationalism, affecting (...)
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  9. Karl Popper ou l'éthique de la science.Jacques Batiéno - 2012 - Paris: Éditions Dianoïa.
    De l'épistémologie à la politique, le rationalisme critique de Karl Popper se présente comme une solution théorique à la difficulté que rencontra Kant du lien entre philosophie théorique et philosophie pratique. Ce qui est en jeu ici, c'est la façon particulière que l'oeuvre de Popper a de montrer qu'une théorie de la connaissance peut servir de fondement théorique à une théorie politique et à une théorie de la société sans, pour autant, tomber dans le positivisme ou le scientisme.
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