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
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/BF01801189
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,411
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
K. R. Popper (1966). Conjectures and Refutations. Les Etudes Philosophiques 21 (3):431-434.

View all 16 references / Add more references

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.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

20 ( #232,682 of 1,924,755 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #417,923 of 1,924,755 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.