By Karl Popper
Conjectures and Refutations is one in all Karl Popper's such a lot wide-ranging and renowned works, striking not just for its acute perception into the best way clinical wisdom grows, but in addition for making use of these insights to politics and to background.
It offers one of many clearest and such a lot available statements of the elemental concept that guided his paintings: not just our wisdom, yet our goals and our criteria, develop via an never-ending technique of trial and mistake.
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Extra resources for Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (2nd Edition)
This part of my lecture might be described as an attack on empiricism, as formulated for example in the following classical statement of Hume’s: ‘If I ask you why you believe any particular matter of fact . . , 27 28 conjectures and refutations you must tell me some reason; and this reason will be some other fact, connected with it. ’ (Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Section , Part ; SelbyBigge, p. 46; see also my motto, taken from Section vii, Part ; p. ) The problem of the validity of empiricism may be roughly put as follows: is observation the ultimate source of our knowledge of nature?
A word, on the other hand, must have had a proper meaning as soon as it was ever understood. If we thus reﬂect upon the diﬀerence between the ways in which the meaning of words and the truth of statements is related to their origins, we are hardly tempted to think that the question of origin can have much bearing on the question of knowledge or of truth. There is, however, a deep analogy between meaning and truth; and there is a philosophical view—I have called it ‘essentialism’—which tries to link meaning and truth so closely that the temptation to treat both in the same way becomes almost irresistible.
How are the two sides of this table connected? If we look at the left side of the table, we ﬁnd there the word ‘Deﬁnitions’. But a deﬁnition is a kind of statement or theory or proposition, and therefore one of those things which stand on the right side of our table. ) The fact that deﬁnitions, which occur on the left side of our table, are nevertheless statements suggests that somehow they may form a link between the left and the right side of the table. That they do this is, indeed, part of that philosophic doctrine to which I have given the name ‘essentialism’.
Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (2nd Edition) by Karl Popper