The Logic of Scientific Discovery

Front Cover
Psychology Press, 2002 - Philosophy - 513 pages
Described by the philosopher A.J. Ayer as a work of 'great originality and power', this book revolutionized contemporary thinking on science and knowledge. Ideas such as the now legendary doctrine of 'falsificationism' electrified the scientific community, influencing even working scientists, as well as post-war philosophy. This astonishing work ranks alongside The Open Society and Its Enemies as one of Popper's most enduring books and contains insights and arguments that demand to be read to this day.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
7
4 stars
2
3 stars
1
2 stars
0
1 star
0

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This is a classic in the histories of philosophy and science. The author translated from German to English. Cosmology is the study of humanity’s place in the world. Growth of knowledge is significant. Scientific knowledge is key indicator. Logic, or the method of progress, is the topic. Universal theory is the goal. Finding universal problems is the approach. It is interesting to see the science and common sense of that time questioned, e.g. to surmise that theories are not verifiable, and that probability is not falsifiable. The author makes observations about Bernoulli, Bohr, Kant, Hume, Wittgenstein, Einstein and Heisenberg. The second English edition was published in 2002. It had two parts, logic and experience, ten chapters, eighty-five sections, and nineteen appendices. There are eight main points about induction, psychologism, deductive testing, demarcation, experience, falsifiability, empirical basis, and objectivity versus conviction. The writing style is clear and uses elements of verbal rhetoric for pleasant effect rather than a dry classic style of proof, which is among the subjects of scepticism. A philosopher faces a “heap of ruins” and uses language to find genuine problems in an exercise of critical thinking. The social aspect is important. The title is similar to Kuhn 1962 and it has been observed that it anticipated the scientific framework or paradigm. There was a debate between them in 1965 and the theories have been compared. Modern fields which were outside of the scope at the time include at least brain science, computation, visualization and automation. 

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

On of my aims this year was to read three books that had a great influence on our understanding of knowledge and scientific knowledge in particular. I was looking very forward to this highly acclaimed, large, work of Poppers’. Sadly I found it very difficult to read and personally I got very little by way of understanding from reading it. This really surprised me as I read two of Popper’s books last year and found them very rewarding. I would not discourage others from reading this – although personally I found it very stale 

Contents

T A Survey of Some Fundamental Problems 1 The Problem of Induction 2 Elimination of Psychologism 3 Deductive Testing of Theories
3
The Problem of Demarcation
4
Experience as a Method
5
Falsifiability as a Criterion of Demarcation
17
The Problem of the Empirical Basis
21
Scientific Objectivity and Subjective Conviction
22
On the Problem of a Theory of Scientific Method
27
1o The Naturalistic Approach to the Theory of Method
29
Relative Frequency within a Finite Class
143
Selection Independence Insensitiveness Irrelevance
145
Finite Sequences Ordinal Selection and Neighbourhood Selection
147
nFreedom in Finite Sequences
148
Sequences of Segments The First Form of the Binomial Formula
152
Infinite Sequences Hypothetical Estimates of Frequency
154
An Examination of the Axiom of Randomness
159
ChanceLike Sequences Objective Probability
163

Methodological Rules as Conventions
32
Some Structural Components of a Theory of Experience
35
Theories
37
Causality Explanation and the Deduction of Predictions
38
Strict and Numerical Universality
40
Universal Concepts and Individual Concepts
42
Strictly Universal and Existential Statements
47
Theoretical Systems
50
Some Possibilities of Interpreting a System of Axioms
51
Levels of Universality The Modus Tollens
54
Falsifiability
57
2O Methodological Rules
61
Logical Investigation of Falsifiability
64
Falsifiability and Falsification
66
Occurrences and Events
68
Falsifiability and Consistency
72
The Problem of the Empirical Basis
74
Concerning the SoCalled Protocol Sentences
76
The Objectivity of the Empirical Basis
79
Basic Statements
82
The Relativity of Basic Statements Resolution of Friess Trilemma
86
3o Theory and Experiment
88
Degrees of Testability
95
How are Classes of Potential Falsifiers to be Compared?
97
Degrees of Falsifiability Compared by Means of the Subclass Relation
99
The Structure of the Subclass Relation Logical Probability
100
Empirical Content Entailment and Degrees of Falsifiability
103
Levels of Universality and Degrees of Precision
105
ºſſilſhillCRºſſ to Dimensions
110
The Dimension of a Set of Curves
115
Two Ways of Reducing the Number of Dimensions of a Set of Curves
116
Simplicity
121
Elimination of the Aesthetic and the Pragmatic Concepts of Simplicity 42 The Methodological Problem of Simplicity
122
Simplicity and Degree of Falsifiability
126
Geometrical Shape and Functional Form
128
The Simplicity of Euclidean Geometry
129
Probability
133
The Problem of Interpreting Probability Statements
134
Subjective and Objective Interpretations
135
The Fundamental Problem of the Theory of Chance
138
5o The Frequency Theory of von Mises
139
Plan for a New Theory of Probability
141
6o Bernoullis Problem
164
The Law of Great Numbers Bernoullis Theorem
168
Bernoullis Theorem and the Interpretation of Probability Statements
171
of the Fundamental Problem of the Theory of Chance
176
The Problem of Decidability
181
The Logical Form of Probability Statements
183
A Probabilistic System of Speculative Metaphysics
188
Probability in Physics
190
Law and Chance
198
7o The Deducibility of Macro Laws from Micro Laws
200
Formally Singular Probability Statements
202
The Theory of Range
204
Some Observations on Quantum Theory
209
Heisenbergs Programme and the Uncertainty Relations 74 A Brief Outline of the Statistical Interpretation of Quantum Theory
211
A Statistical ReInterpretation of the Uncertainty Formulae
218
An Attempt to Eliminate Metaphysical Elements by Inverting Heisenbergs Programme with Applications
224
Decisive Experiments
232
Indeterminist Metaphysics
243
Corroboration or How a Theory Stands up to Tests
248
Criticism of Probability Logic
252
Inductive Logic and Probability Logic
261
How a Hypothesis may Prove its Mettle
264
Corroborability Testability and Logical Probability
268
Remarks Concerning the Use of the Concepts True and Corroborated
273
The Path of Science
276
APPENDICES
281
Definition of the Dimension of a Theory
283
The General Calculus of Frequency in Finite Classes
286
Formula
290
Examination of an Objection The TwoSlit
297
Remarks Concerning an Imaginary Experiment
305
i Two Notes on Induction and Demarcation
312
ii A Note on Probability 1938
319
iii On the Heuristic Use of the Classical Definition
325
vii Zero Probability and the FineStructure
374
viii Content Simplicity and Dimension
392
Statistical Tests
402
x Universals Dispositions and Natural
440
xi On the Use and Misuse of Imaginary
464
xii The Experiment of Einstein Podolsky and Rosen
481
INDICES compiled by Dr J Agassi
489
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information