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Pro or contra Karl Popper's style with induction?

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Anja M
Anja M Sep 08, 2020
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Innocent until proven guilty

Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Sep 08, 2020
Anja M
Anja M6 months ago
Yes, I think this actually is the way science usually works, though I haven't considered connecting it with law, thank you for that comparison, it is useful. The underlying point one can take contra falsification here is that even though one found dark blue, or even white crow, for that matter, would it really disprove the claim: "All crows are black."? Additionally, rules of logic imply that universal judgments ("all/none") do not imply reality of existence of a certain thing. But on the other hand, even though all this is true, a couple of issues remain. First, we must set the threshold when an example is enough to defy our theory, and when auxiliary hypotheses can save it. Science is widely aware of this, and usually in a particular filed this can be established clearly enough pretty often. Secondly, Popper had contra-arguments to the objections posted above, and I am more curious about them: 1) He said his theory is supposed to represent a normative, thus methodological claim on how science is supposed to work. 2) He wouldn't advocate for a theory to be rejected even if it yields false results in the case there is no better one at the moment. 3) It is rational to choose justified theories, even though that means we have no inductive base for holding them true. 3 contra) However, Richard Jeffrey (1975) pointed out on particularly this example that it would mean that it is as hard to verify a theory, as is to defy, or falsify, it. This is a curious example and sounds very intuitively tempting. Jeffrey further developed it to show how it is more appealing to rely on the empirical degree of support for a hypothesis, and that sounds acceptable. However, if we accept even only 1) for a norm, or 2) as a temporary ground, it means we cannot fully leave Popper in the field idle theorizing. So I am curious for us to explore more on the real examples it is used in science, to see how these arguments hold.
Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni6 months ago
I agree that universal judgments ("all/ none") do not imply the reality of existence of a certain thing. Things are clearly in the gray area. That is the reason researchers talk in terms of proportions and probabilities. I also agree that we need a threshold or bounds in which a certain theory or its contradiction stands true. Researchers, therefore, indicate the range in which the proposed theory stands true. They also indicate limitations to their theory. I don't know whether Popper’s contra-arguments are backed by empirical evidence: 1) His theory definitely falls in the area of how theories should be stated and taken according to him. I think this is idealistic and theoretical. Applications of this theory in real life are limited. 2) I understand this but it is hard to agree with. This may stem from the fear of unleashing a storm without finding ways to stop it first. However, I think if something stands disproved, it should not be considered supreme thereafter. Disproving a theory and finding an alternative are two independent events. 3) I am not sure why a justified theory should have no inductive base. I agree we need real-life examples.

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