Essay on Karl Popper Falsification

The fast development of neopositivism soon caused violent criticism of its provisions. The model of scientific knowledge and the formulation of a criterion of demarcation in logical positivism was too rigid. The first alternative model of scientific knowledge was proposed by British philosopher Karl Popper.

He sharply criticized the inductive methods of scientific knowledge, believing that induction is a purely psychological procedure that can only be a reason for the appearance of random hypothesis, but is unable to form the basis of the logic of scientific knowledge. The main task that Popper has set was to build a model of scientific knowledge without induction, only on the basis of methods of deductive logic. In fact, it would be strange to claim the benefits of scientific knowledge over other kinds of knowledge, basing on a first highly uncertain and problematic procedure, which was the induction. This was the main contradiction of neopositivism, which Popper tried to overcome.

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Popper put forward the idea of falsifiability of scientific theory, designed to replace the verification procedures in the determination of the demarcation criterion. If verification in neopositivist model of science is the transfer from the protocol statements at least some degree of truth to the theoretical statements, the falsification, on the contrary, is a refutation of theoretical judgments based on falsity arising from these empirical propositions. Popper thus proposed to extend the concept of the empirical basis of scientific theory to set both true and false empirical propositions (i.e., those statements that are intersubjective and can be confirmed or refuted in various empirical methods of scientific knowledge). It is not necessary that these empirical statements have already been identified in the experiment. It is enough so that they, or their negations, could in principle be obtained by empirical methods of cognition.

The distinction between falsification and falsifiability should be noted here. Falsifiability requires only the presence of potential falsifiers in theory, while each of them cannot yet be confirmed experimentally. Falsification in tern requires not just potential falsifiers, but those confirmed by the experience.

Thus, Popper’s criterion of demarcation requires the definition of scientific knowledge not the confirmation (verification) by the experience but the capabilities of refutation (falsification) in the important experiments. Popper also called such a knowledge open (to the falsifiers), contrasting to closed (which cannot be falsified) knowledge, which acts as, for example, philosophical, mathematical, political (ideology) knowledge.

This also implies that scientific knowledge should move toward the use of various empirical generalizations in the form of universal judgment. Indeed, we find such statements in various scientific laws. Moreover, the more universal is the knowledge, the more it is falsifiable, so that the increase in scientific is expressed in this case in the growth of universality (simplicity) of a scientific theory.

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