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Popper, Karl (1902–94)


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


British philosopher of science. Though born in Vienna, Austria, Popper lived in England from 1946. He began his career as a critic of the L ogical positivism of the Vienna Circle. His first major publication was Logik der Forschung (1934). Rightly fearing a Nazi takeover of his country, Popper left Austria for New Zealand in 1937. He taught at Canterbury College of the University of New Zealand until 1945. Here he wrote his seminal work on political theory, The Open Society and Its Enemies ( 1945 ). This catapulted him into an international career in philosophy. Popper went on to teach philosophy at the London School of Economics and Political Science for over two decades. He retired as Professor of Logic and Scientific Method. Popper was knighted in 1965, and died in 1994. Popper's influence on the philosophy of Science has been phenomenal. Best known for introducing the “falsification” criterion, Popper argued that scientific laws cannot be conclusively proved: they can only be falsified. By this Popper meant that no amount of verification of a scientific law would guarantee its truth value. It has been known since the time of the philosopher David Hume that no number of observation sentences of the form “X causes Y” can lead to a provable generalization – a counterinstance to a scientific law cannot be logically ruled out. Induction is a habit of mind; it is not a logical ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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