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Author Topic: What should someone who read Popper 45 years ago be reading today?  (Read 913 times)

Richard Rathbone

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What should someone who read Popper 45 years ago be reading today?
« on: September 21, 2022, 11:38:43 PM »
Its a long time since I read "The Logic of Scientific Discovery" and "The Open Society and its Enemies". I have the impression he's still the last word on that sort of theme, but its been a long time and its not like there aren't still problems with the generation of knowledge and its abuse.


Jim Hunt

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Re: What should someone who read Popper 45 years ago be reading today?
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2022, 12:34:54 AM »
When I was at University many (many!) moons ago Thomas Kuhn was the in thing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Structure_of_Scientific_Revolutions
"The evil that is in the world always comes from ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding." Albert Camus, The Plague

Richard Rathbone

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Re: What should someone who read Popper 45 years ago be reading today?
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2022, 02:34:58 AM »
But is Popper still the paradigm? Or even if he is, is there some new kid on the block threatening to upend him?

Different field but I have come across work on what happened before the Big Bang, which is I think rather unfair on some of the physicists whose paradigm it claims to be breaking, but thats par for the course in popular science books. A Brief History of Time is being consigned to history (or so it appears to me). Is there someone that is doing to Popper what is being done to Hawking?

kassy

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Re: What should someone who read Popper 45 years ago be reading today?
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2022, 12:38:56 PM »
Not new but one i liked is Against Method by Feyerabend. It contrasts nicely with the quite theoretical stuff like Kuhn. 
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

Jim Hunt

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Re: What should someone who read Popper 45 years ago be reading today?
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2022, 01:09:30 PM »
As synchronicity would suggest, the University in question was Southampton:

https://www.southampton.ac.uk/~mb1a10/COMP6216_WIS_II.pdf

TL;DR - Scroll to the bottom!
"The evil that is in the world always comes from ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding." Albert Camus, The Plague

Richard Rathbone

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Re: What should someone who read Popper 45 years ago be reading today?
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2022, 07:40:57 PM »
So the answer is still Popper? ;)

Could that essay that be put together today without mentioning Popper?

Any more recent fundamental critiques of scientific totalitarianism than The Open Society and its Enemies? This isn't an issue thats gone away but e.g. is there anything like The Merchants of Doubt but which starts out with taking aim at Hume, the way Popper starts out by taking aim at Plato?

Not new but one i liked is Against Method by Feyerabend. It contrasts nicely with the quite theoretical stuff like Kuhn. 

Do you think Feyerabend was a good writer? e.g. I've read Wittgenstein and picked up insight about modelling from it but I'm not going to recommend him as a good read. Kant has had a lot of influence, including on me, but I didn't get it from reading Kant.

Looking at amazon, maybe I should try his Science in a Free Society.

kassy

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Re: What should someone who read Popper 45 years ago be reading today?
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2022, 06:15:36 PM »
He is a lot easier to read then Wittgenstein but i have not read that one.

In a way it is all abstract because you have a world with a lot of scientific knowledge but it´s use is arbitrary. One good example of this is the way we handle climate change.


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Richard Rathbone

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Re: What should someone who read Popper 45 years ago be reading today?
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2022, 09:04:02 PM »
Its use is political, which is not the same as arbitrary. (Unless the head honcho is a Philosopher King, see Popper for why this is a bad idea)


longwalks1

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Re: What should someone who read Popper 45 years ago be reading today?
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2022, 10:40:42 AM »
Evidently not Frank J. Popper.   (Mr. Let the Buffalo Roam) 

Richard Rathbone

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Re: What should someone who read Popper 45 years ago be reading today?
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2022, 07:03:03 PM »
I read Science in a Free Society. The first part is not exactly an easy read. The second part is a collection of his responses to reviews of Against Method which is amusingly withering in places.

Feyerabend sees Science as occupying a similar place in society as the Catholic Church did in the time of Galileo and being in similar need of knocking off its pedestal. Against Method is in some sense his 93 theses nailed to the church door.

Aristotle is the one he really likes, but he is a lot more sympathetic to Plato than Popper is. I think this is because he appreciates Plato's invention of literary genres rather than because he is convinced by the arguments in them.

He is also a lot more sympathetic to Hegel than Popper, again I think this is because he regards Hegel's dialectic as a hugely important development. If Feyerabend has a Method, its Argument, and Hegel's dialectic is argument leading to innovation. If there's a freedom he thinks is particularly fundamental, its the freedom to argue.

He sees Science as ill, constipated by undue subservience to Method, and prescribes a dose of anarchy, not because he is actually an anarchist, but because its the Hegelian antithesis and he feels the need to confront Science with it in order to progress to a healthier synthesis.

He regards Science as too dominant for Society to be free. I'm not sure to what extent he is playing the gadfly here, there aren't the reviews of reviews to reveal just how much of his position is conviction rather than rhetoric inspired by his convictions. His requirement for a free society is that all traditions have equal access to power in it. Its not good enough to allow women to participate equally in male society, female traditions have to have equal access to power. Its not good enough to have equal access for astronomers and astrologers to study with astronomers at university, they have to have equal access to study astrology with astrologers too. They might chose not to, other people aren't required to pay for them to do it, but "Astrology is unscientific" isn't a good enough reason to bar astrologers from universities.

Feyerabend would love people gluing themselves to roads. Not only are they protesting against the same sort of thing as he was protesting against, they are doing it a dramatically innovative way, and he would appreciate the drama even if he didn't agree with the aims of the protest.

He mentions Von Neumann but Turing and Goedel don't get mentioned at all, and in my opinion they demolished the sort of method he argues against in the 1930s. On the other hand, Science viewing itself as fundamentally superior rather than just another tradition, is still around. If anything I've reinforced my opinion that Against Method was flogging a dead horse, but I do agree with him that a society centred on a dead horse is unhealthy.

Ranman99

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Re: What should someone who read Popper 45 years ago be reading today?
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2022, 01:08:15 AM »
Today? Do you mean like today now? no reading. In a dark room with top-quality headphones, they should listen to Roger Water Amused to Death 13 times and then move out from there ;-)

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