Conjectures and Refutations / Edition 2

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Conjectures and Refutations is one of Karl Popper's most wide-ranging and popular works, notable not only for its acute insight into the way scientific knowledge grows, but also for applying those insights to politics and to history. It provides one of the clearest and most accessible statements of the fundamental idea that guided his work: not only our knowledge, but our aims and our standards, grow through an unending process of trial and error. Popper brilliantly demonstrates how knowledge grows by guesses or conjectures and tentative solutions, which must then be subjected to critical tests. Although they may survive any number of tests, our conjectures remain conjectures, they can never be established as true. What makes Conjectures and Refutations such an enduring book is that Popper goes on to apply this bold theory of the growth of knowledge to a fascinating range of important problems, including the role of tradition, the origin of the scientific method, the demarcation between science and metaphysics, the body-mind problem, the way we use language, how we understand history, and the dangers of public opinion. Throughout the book, Popper stresses the importance of our ability to learn from our mistakes. Conjectures and Refutations is essential reading, and a book to be returned to again and again.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'The central thesis of the essays and lectures gathered together in this stimulating volume is that our knowledge, and especially our scientific knowledge, progresses by unjustified (and unjustifiable) anticipations, by guesses, by tentative solutions to our problems, in a word by conjectures. Professor Popper puts forward his views with a refreshing self-confidence.' - The Times Literary Supplement

'Professor Popper holds that truth is not manifest, but extremely elusive, he believes that men need above all things, open-mindedness, imagination, and a constant willingness to be corrected. In summarizing his views in this way, I have done scant justice to the subtlety and importance of his argument. His own presentation of his case is luminously clear.' - Maurice Cranston, Listener

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415285933
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 8/28/2002
  • Series: Routledge Classics Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 608
  • Age range: 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 8.26 (h) x 1.92 (d)

Meet the Author

Karl Popper (1902-1994). Philosopher, born in Vienna. One of the most influential and controversial thinkers of the twentieth century.
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Table of Contents

Preface xi
Acknowledgements xiv
Preface to the Second Edition xv
Preface to the Third Edition xvii
Introduction: On the Sources of Knowledge and of Ignorance 3
1 Science: Conjectures and Refutations 43
Appendix Some Problems in the Philosophy of Science 78
2 The Nature of Philosophical Problems and their Roots in Science 87
3 Three Views Concerning Human Knowledge 130
1 The Science of Galileo and Its Most Recent Betrayal 130
2 The Issue at Stake 134
3 The First View: Ultimate Explanation by Essences 139
4 The Second View: Theories as Instruments 144
5 Criticism of the Instrumentalist View 149
6 The Third View: Conjectures, Truth, and Reality 153
4 Towards a Rational Theory of Tradition 161
5 Back to the Presocratics 183
Appendix Historical Conjectures and Heraclitus on Change 206
6 A Note on Berkeley as Precursor of Mach and Einstein 224
7 Kant's Critique and Cosmology 237
1 Kant and the Enlightenment 238
2 Kant's Newtonian Cosmology 240
3 The Critique and the Cosmological Problem 241
4 Space and Time 242
5 Kant's Copernican Revolution 244
6 The Doctrine of Autonomy 246
8 On the Status of Science and of Metaphysics 249
1 Kant and the Logic of Experience 249
2 The Problem of the Irrefutability of Philosophical Theories 261
9 Why are the Calculi of Logic and Arithmetic Applicable to Reality? 272
10 Truth, Rationality, and the Growth of Scientific Knowledge 291
1 The Growth of Knowledge: Theories and Problems 291
2 The Theory of Objective Truth: Correspondence to the Facts 302
3 Truth and Content: Verisimilitude versus Probability 309
4 Background Knowledge and Scientific Growth 322
5 Three Requirements for the Growth of Knowledge 326
Appendix A Presumably False yet Formally Highly Probable Non-Empirical Statement 336
11 The Demarcation Between Science and Metaphysics 341
1 Introduction 342
2 My Own View of the Problem 344
3 Carnap's First Theory of Meaninglessness 349
4 Carnap and the Language of Science 356
5 Testability and Meaning 368
6 Probability and Induction 377
12 Language and the Body-Mind Problem 395
1 Introduction 395
2 Four Major Functions of Language 397
3 A Group of Theses 398
4 The Machine Argument 399
5 The Causal Theory of Naming 401
6 Interaction 402
7 Conclusion 402
13 A Note on the Body-Mind Problem 403
14 Self-Reference and Meaning in Ordinary Language 409
15 What is Dialectic? 419
1 Dialectic Explained 419
2 Hegelian Dialectic 435
3 Dialectic After Hegel 445
16 Prediction and Prophecy in the Social Sciences 452
17 Public Opinion and Liberal Principles 467
1 The Myth of Public Opinion 467
2 The Dangers of Public Opinion 470
3 Liberal Principles: A Group of Theses 471
4 The Liberal Theory of Free Discussion 473
5 The Forms of Public Opinion 475
6 Some Practical Problems: Censorship and Monopolies of Publicity 475
7 A Short List of Political Illustrations 476
8 Summary 476
18 Utopia and Violence 477
19 The History of Our Time: An Optimist's View 489
20 Humanism and Reason 506
Addenda: Some Technical Notes 517
1 Empirical Content 517
2 Probability and the Severity of Tests 522
3 Verisimilitude 527
4 Numerical Examples 535
5 Artificial vs. Formalized Languages 537
6 A Historical Note on Verisimilitude (1964) 538
7 Some Further Hints on Verisimilitude (1968) 541
8 Further Remarks on the Presocratics, especially on Parmenides (1968) 545
9 The Presocratics: Unity or Novelty? (1968) 556
10 An Argument, due to Mark Twain, against Naive Empiricism (1989) 557
Index of Mottoes 558
Index of Names 559
Index of Subjects 567
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