Conjectures and refutations : the growth of scientific knowledge / by Karl R. Popper Popper, Karl R. (Karl Raimund), 1902-1994

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Popper, Karl R. (Karl Raimund), 1902-1994
Methodology.; Prediction (Logic); Kennisverwerving.
The way in which knowledge progresses, and especially our scientific knowledge, is by unjustified (and Unjustifiale) anticipations, by guesses, by tentative solutions to our problems, by conjectures. The conjectures are controlled by criticism : that is, by attempted refutations, which include severely critical tests. They may surviv these tests; but they can never be positively justified: they can neither be established as certainly true nor even as 'probable' (in the sense of the probablity calculus). Criticism of our conjectures is of decisive importance: by brining out our mistakes it makes us understand the difficulities of the problem which we try to solve. This is how we become better acquainted with our problem, and able to propose more mature solutions: the very refutation of a theory - that is, of a tentative solution to our problem - is always a step forward that takes us nearer to the truth. And this is how we can learn from our mistakes. As we learn from our mistakes our knowledge grows, even through we may never know - that is, know for certain, Since our knoweldge can grow, there can be no reason here for despair of reason. And since we can never know for certain, there can be no authority here for any claim to authority, for conciet over our knowledge, or for smugness. The essays and lectures of which this book is composed apply this thesis to many topics, ranging from problems of the philosophy and history of the physical and the social sciences to historical and politicial problems.
Read associated articles: Dialectic, Karl Popper, Science
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