A Critique Of Popper’s Strategy For The Growth Of Science

Project and Seminar Material for Philosophy

A Critique Of Popper’s Strategy For The Growth Of Science


Abstract


Perhaps, one of the finest and most fascinating phenomena that have ever greeted the human history was the overture of the modern scientific culture and its unmitigated growth and development. The ascendance of this strand of cultural emancipation and spectacular civilization did not just take place ‘at the drop of a hat or two from the leaning tower of Pisa. How successful was Popper in ensuring the growth of science in his account of scientific method and procedure? Whether or not he accomplished successfully this task in his model, and to what extent, is the major concern of the present researcher in engaging in this worthwhile venture of expounding the Popperian strategy for the growth of science. The conceptual and methodological tools of exposition, analysis and critical evaluation in this study are the prisms through which the subject matter is viewed and explored. The critical evaluation has both the historical and ahistorical dimensions. It was found that Sir Karl’s avowed interest in the growth and development of science was by no smaller measure vitiated and marred by the method he projected and advanced. This method, I think, was the fruit of his robust reaction to the extravagances and untenable assumptions of the exponents of the inductive and verification principles. Seeing the inadequacies of these principles, Sir Karl thought, having given in to this initial aberration that the scientific world and its explanatory tool which finds expression in philosophy of science could only recapture their ‘sanity’ by allowing the pendulum to swing to the opposite extreme. In conclusions, No doubt, the good sense of Sir Karl and his passion for the scientific advancement and the growth of knowledge in general are easily noticed as one turns through the pages of his corpuses. He wanted the best for science. He wanted and sought for the most veritable and proficient means of leading the scientific world to its optimal height, to its possible crescendo as it regards its growth and development. At its face value the method he propagated would be lauded and acclaimed but unfortunately a consistent application of it by the working scientist would inexorably rock the boat of scientific adventures and discoveries. It is in no smaller measure saddled with untold inconsistencies. In conclusions,


Chapter Five


5.1 Evaluation

Sir Karl’s avowed interest in the growth and development of science was by no smaller measure vitiated and marred by the method he projected and advanced. This method, I think, was the fruit of his robust reaction to the extravagances and untenable assumptions of the exponents of the inductive and verification principles. Seeing the inadequacies of these principles, Sir Karl thought, having given in to this initial aberration that the scientific world and its explanatory tool which finds expression in philosophy of science could only recapture their ‘sanity’ by allowing the pendulum to swing to the opposite extreme. Thus he put forward his theory of hypotheticism as well as its logical attendant falsificationism which is essentially a ‘via negativa’ that effects the ouster and elimination of errors. Theories, conjectures contrary to the posture of the inductivists and the logical positivists are a priori applications in every significant scientific endeavor while particulars perform the function of falsifying them. Popper argued that verified propositions can in future be falsified and so there cannot be any conclusive proof of these theories. Unfortunately, in order to deal a great blow on the proponents of the verificationism, he made an unjustifiable fusion by allowing falsification to coincide with the rejection of theories, perhaps because the logical positivists considered verification as criterion of acceptability. He opined that falsification constitutes a good and cogent reason that a theory would be allowed to drop out. No doubt his ardent interest in the continued and optimal growth of science strengthened this view. But sad enough, this position is as Imre Lakatos observed, the thrust of the weakness and bane of Sir Karl’s version of falsificationism.1 If a conclusive disproof is not possible, as we had already seen, how can Popper be justified in maintaining that the falsification of theories constitutes a good reason for the rejection of scientific theories?

Falsification cannot be a good reason that would occasion the ouster of scientific theories. It was indeed this that engendered the seriousness with which most of the observed inconsistencies in his thought were viewed in our last chapter. That basic statements are not ultimate and that observations are dependent on theories, which are conjectures, may have been lightly taken if theories when falsified are not ipso facto rejected. It was also this that made his injection of dogmatism—in the sense that scientific theories should not be allowed to succumb to defeat too easily and before they have made their own contributions to the growth of science—untenable. If falsification of theories does not coincide in Popper with their elimination from the scientific fold, it becomes possible and without any logical discrepancy to retain falsified theories in the bid to see whether their real power can brandish with future scientific escapades. Opportunities abound for the scientist to become wiser after the event of falsification. Like Lakatos, I hold that anomalies can be shelved aside as problematic instances which solution would appear later on the stage of scientific adventure. If a theory is rejected just as a result of few falsifying instances, what about the rest of other promises of it. Besides, what if there is no other theory that can constitute a proper substitute of the theory. In this condition, a vacuum is created, a state of stagnation and inactivity become precipitated. Does this not hamper and militate against the highly valued scientific progress? Thus it is my wish, and I think this is more rational, that Popper should have only maintained that the replacement of a hypothesis by another which is better testable—i.e. a hypothesis with a greater informative content, —constitutes a good reason to allow a theory to drop out.

However Popper’s insistence that scientific theories are like meteors which brightness is not coterminous with their longevity, accentuating thus the facticity of the bankruptcy of science—i.e. the brief period of prosperity of scientific theories, plays some regulative positive role in the ensemble of scientific advancements. The scientist’s recognition that his theories are at best tentative hypotheses, enjoying no atom of absolutism; that at no stage is it definitely and finally asserted that the limits of analysis have been attained would make him not to rest satisfied at any given scientific achievement. The scientist is well aware that beyond every attained horizon is yet a massive horizon posing itself analogically as a jig-saw puzzle begging for the genius of the scientist. The scientist is thus put into continual action engendering thus progress in the scientific field.

Like Popper I admit that criticisms of our theories must be given a position of prominence in the scientific scheme. Errors must be ruthlessly eliminated from the scientific system. But I do not agree with Popper’s view that all scientific inquiry is essentially cast in, and is explicable in terms of, his method of bold conjectures and refutations. This method of constantly criticizing our theories in order to falsify them can hardly occasion any significant advance. All efforts of the scientist would be a negative one. There is the irresistible tendency towards constant search for errors in theories to the detriment of the wonderful promises of the theory. I’d rather submitted that after preliminary criticisms have been launched against a theory, the efforts of the scientists should be and in fact have always been that of putting into good use and maximizing the promises of the theory. This positive and optimistic orientation would no doubt lead the scientific world to greater heights as well as benefit humanity more than the negative efforts directed towards search for errors in theories in order to overthrow them and eject them out of the scientific system. However, this does not in any way mean that attention would not be paid to significant falsifying instances along the line or that the heat produced by anomalies should be cushioned by ad hoc auxiliary assumptions that reduce the testability of theories. Growth can hardly emerge in this climate of intellectual subterfuge. I simply agree with Anthony Standen, as Popper would, given the whole tenure of his thought, that “success of the scientific method… is based entirely upon an absolute honesty of mind and love of truth.”2 Thus Sir Karl appears in his rejection of such scientific canker to have made a good mark and in fact has struck to this extent the right chord that ultimately harmonizes with the much heralded scientific growth.


5.2 Conclusion.

No doubt, the good sense of Sir Karl and his passion for the scientific advancement and the growth of knowledge in general are easily noticed as one turns through the pages of his corpuses. He wanted the best for science. He wanted and sought for the most veritable and proficient means of leading the scientific world to its optimal height, to its possible crescendo as it regards its growth and development. At its face value the method he propagated would be lauded and acclaimed but unfortunately a consistent application of it by the working scientist would inexorably rock the boat of scientific adventures and discoveries. It is in no smaller measure saddled with untold inconsistencies.


Get Complete Project Material

5,000 5000

The Complete Material Will Be Sent to You in Just 2 Steps

Quick & Simple…


Step One Purchase

Make Payment (Through Transfer) of ₦5,000 to the Account Below

Zenith BankAcc No: 1225513212
Samphina Academy
Current Account

Or CLICK HERE To Pay With Debit Card


FOR STUDENTS OUTSIDE NIGERIA
CLICK HERE To Purchase Material ($15)

Step Two Purchase

Send the Following Details on WhatsApp ( 08143831497) After Payment

  1. Payment Details

  2. TOPIC: A Critique Of Popper’s Strategy For The Growth Of Science

The Complete Material Will Be Sent To You On WhatsApp After Receiving Your Details
T & C Apply


  Contact Our Help Desk


Need a Different Topic? Perform a Quick Search



List of Related Works

Click on Any Topic to Preview the Content

samphina.academy

Samphina Academy

Samphina Academy is an Online Educational Resource Center that is aimed at providing students with quality information and materials to aid them in succeeding in their academic pursuit.