The Philosophy of Karl Popper

karl popper
Karl Popper, an austro-british philosopher, invented the falsifiability concept as a criterion of demarcation between science and pseudoscience.

Popper’s Philosophy : Science and Falsifiability

Popper’s publications and conferences have transformed the methods of scientific research. Popper outlines the theory of “refutation” because a hypothesis can be “falsified”, that is to say refuted by experimentation, other hypotheses can be developed more comprehensive and theory can progress.

We live in an age where humanity, through science, has solved most problems. But science cannot predict the future. What is scientific is what the falsity can be demonstrated. Intellectual and moral relativism is the most serious threats to our society.

Popper has claimed instead of the tradition of the Enlightenment, especially Voltaire, Kant and Hume: “The Enlightenment  goes back to Socrates, and its motto is: I know I do not know. “Objectively, we live in an age where humanity through science, has solved most problems which, until 1945, seemed almost impassable. “Our society is more comfortable and more peaceful to have never existed and is also the fairest. “In my childhood, says Popper, Vienna was comparable, with its mix of luxury and misery, to the India of nowadays … Today, poverty has virtually disappeared from Western Europe, excessive social disparities no longer exist, freedom of individual choice has become immense, education, sense of responsibility increased. So many hard facts! And all this happened in a very short period … We also learned that no social reform or no economic progress could be achieved through violence, even the Russians are beginning to notice! ”

But the most important advance, says Popper, is that we are willing to listen to valid criticism and to accept reasonable suggestions made to improve our society. To measure this progress, he says, simply compare our time at any other period of history at random. The only ones not see the difference are the “intellectuals” colonizing education and the media themselves state that we live in a “moral hell.” Only they advocate the politics of the worst, which is to destroy freedom in the West under the pretext that this freedom would be an illusion.

Popper’s Philosophy : Historicism

Historicism, Karl Popper said, is the common foundation of fascism and Marxism. For it is absolutely false, he says, to believe that the future is conditioned by this. Nothing in this makes it possible to predict the future. Why? Because it’s actually the opposite: we are sucked into the future, all our behavior today is dictated by the idea that we make tomorrow. In the event that the future looks like the announcement is made, it is usually because the preacher himself affects the course of events.


The philosopher, the intellectual should not be one who seeks the truth, but one that flushes out the error. Karl Popper does not say “there is the real”, but “this is false.” You should know that by turning the philosophical approach, Karl Popper has revolutionized the science of how a mathematical theorem or a physical theory can change the foundations of knowledge. Traditionally, the response of the philosophers is that the real is what is provable. One fact was known scientifically accurate if we could demonstrate by repeated observations or experiments. However, Popper argues, this approach leads the researcher to select only those observations supported his theory. In addition, Einstein’s theories are not provable: are they provided false? Popper’s solution is the criterion of “refutation” – in English, falsifiability – and has not thirty years old when the formula for the first time, and this concept will change the scientific community of the twentieth century. The approach of the scientist must, for Popper, not be to prove the validity of a theory, but trying to demolish it, to multiply the experience may show that it is false. Only if the theory withstands the tests it can be considered scientifically true – at least until the next theory that will replace it in the succession of tested and hunts errors. Such is science. Only a scientific which can be refuted, which is not refutable is the magic or mysticism.

Popper class in the pseudo-science, devoid of any serious intellectual basis, both Marxism and psychoanalysis. The both of them are based on dogmatism, since by definition eliminates all attempts to contradict them. Psychoanalysts dispose of objections by charging the discharge of the person who formula. Similarly, Marxists automatically assign the position of an opponent’s class bias: if you say this is that you are objectively complicit in our opponents, so your arguments are not admissible …

Popper’s Philosophy : Truth and Moral relativism

Is there a discernable truth? Some deny the name of moral and intellectual relativism: anything goes, everything is relative, it’s all about civilization, time, etc.. “This relativism, says Popper, is the most serious threats to our society. “But it is quite possible to know if a doctrine is truer than another. Because we have a measuring instrument: these are the standards or rules of conduct. We can judge the facts from norms and decide if such a situation is fair or unfair. “Thou shalt not kill” or “Abstain from all cruelty” are standards. These concepts are part of our acquired knowledge, they follow tradition, reason, imagination and observation. It is true, says Popper, that each standard is accompanied by doubt a pattern of problems. “Thou shalt not kill” is an indisputable standard, but how does it apply to euthanasia, abortion? However, these problems do not invalidate the basic norm. Many ethical problems are insoluble because there is conflict between the opposing principles. But this fact does not mean that all principles are worth is not all deserve to be defended in the same way. I would add that we have pushed hard to reduce conflict, but not delete them. Their very existence is essential to the “open society”.

I join in the tradition of Kant and Voltaire, who submit to the test of reason as well as the philosophy of mathematics or physics. Refuse, we urge Popper, the fragmentation of knowledge, think of everything, do not be drowned by the rise of the information, push the disenchantment of the West and the historical pessimism, since you have the chance to live in the late twentieth century! Do not be fooled by anything or modes, or the intellectual terrorism or money or power. Learn to distinguish always and everywhere right from wrong!

“The Universe, says Popper, we feel intuitively identify causation, a chain of causes and consequences, as if it were a clock. In reality, it is not. Since the de Broglie quantum mechanical , we learned that we live in a world of probabilities, a creative universe, not mechanistic, and is expanding. This universe is based on events that were guided by certain probabilities. But these probabilities are generally unequal probabilities become propensities, the phenomena that tend to spontaneously move in one direction. So God plays dice well, but the dice are weighted: physical and metaphysical are therefore inseparable.”


Cite this article as: Tim, "The Philosophy of Karl Popper, April 20, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, April 20, 2012,

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