Conjectures and refutations: the growth of scientific by Karl Popper

By Karl Popper

Conjectures and Refutations is certainly one of Karl Popper's such a lot wide-ranging and renowned works, outstanding not just for its acute perception into the best way clinical wisdom grows, but in addition for using these insights to politics and to heritage. It offers one of many clearest and such a lot obtainable statements of the elemental concept that guided his paintings: not just our wisdom, yet our goals and our criteria, develop via an never-ending means of trial and mistake.

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We have been given eyes to see the truth, and the 'natural light' of reason to see it by. This doctrine is at the heart of the teaching of both Descartes and Bacon. Descartes based his optimistic epistemology on the important theory of the veracitas dei. What we clearly and distinctly see to be true must indeed be true; for otherwise God would be deceiving us. Thus the truthfulness of God must make truth manifest. In Bacon we have a similar doctrine. It might be described as the doctrine of the veracitas naturae, the truthfulness of Nature.

It is a case of a bad idea inspiring many good ones. VI This false epistemology, however, has also led to disastrous consequences. The theory that truth is manifest--that it is there for everyone to see, if only he wants to see it--this theory is the basis of almost every kind of fanaticism. For only the most depraved wickedness can refuse to see the manifest truth; only those who have every reason to fear truth can deny it, and conspire to suppress it. Yet the theory that truth is manifest not only breeds fanatics--men possessed by the conviction that all those who do not see the manifest truth must be possessed by the devil--but it may also lead, though perhaps less directly than does a pessimistic epistemology, to authoritarianism.

This may stem from Xenophanes' doctrine that all human knowledge is guesswork, and that his own theories are, at best, merely similar to the truth. 4 ) The idea of an epistemological fall of man can perhaps be found, as Karl Reinhardt suggested, in those words of the goddess that mark the transition from the way of truth to the way of delusive opinion. 5 But you also shall learn how it was that delusive opinion, Forcing its way through all things, was destined to pass for the real . . Now of this world thus arranged to seem wholly like truth I shall tell you; Then you will be nevermore overawed by the notions of mortals.

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