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Popper On Science Economics 201 - Lawlor. What is and inductive inference? Example: “All Swans are white” Needs an observation to confirm it’s truth.

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Presentation on theme: "Popper On Science Economics 201 - Lawlor. What is and inductive inference? Example: “All Swans are white” Needs an observation to confirm it’s truth."— Presentation transcript:

1 Popper On Science Economics Lawlor

2 What is and inductive inference? Example: “All Swans are white” Needs an observation to confirm it’s truth. It is impossible to think of a logical deductive proof, one that proceeds from a general principle to a single instance The next observation could always contradict it. Economics Example: “Returns to holding equities are the highest of all classes of investment”

3 Problem with induction (pp According to Hume and Popper The is no “logical” way to define an inference Must always be open to disproof Is always tentatively held Could be disproved by the next observation

4 Four Aspect of Theory Testing (p. 32) 1.Internal Consistency – math, logic 2. Deductive Determination of Testable Hypotheses 3. Comparison with other theories – to eliminate special cases, more generality, etc.. 4. Empirical Testing of conclusions derived in #2

5 “Demarcation” of Empirical Science (pp ) A method of distinguishing what is and is not empirical science First, why do we need one To be clear about the problem discussed by Ludwig Wittgenstein: Can the problem of “universal statements” about “reality” be reduced to a logical relationship –Logical Positivists and early Wittgenstein said “yes,” “meaningfulness” and the “picture theory”

6 Popper and Hume’s reply...(pp If, with Hume, we recognize the difference of empirical and a priori statements, and if we recognize that only a prior truth is established by deduction… Then statements that depend on empirical verification can never be proven true by deduction Must always remain inductively “tentative”

7 “Falsifiability” (pp ) A method, or “convention”, of presenting an inductive, empirical statement, in such a way as to ensure it is scientific, not metaphysical (in the sense of not being determined by evidence) Read quote p. 40-1, “But I shall…” “it must be possible for an empirical statement to be refuted by experience”

8 Status of “Falsification” (pp ) Is itself a not provable by deduction We must judge by experience if it is useful to wisely apply it when conducting science Asks: “Is science better off accepting as proof ‘evidence’ or ‘belief’”? When and whether it is the former over the latter is Popper’s point: Scientific progress is made when more evidence is explained

9 Range of empirical “falsifiability is a mark of its generality “Not for nothing do we call the laws of nature ‘laws’: the more they prohibit the more they say” (p. 41) Consider the “law of gravity” – what sort of things does it prohibit? Consider “the law of diminishing returns” in the same light “prohibits” much less

10 Scientific Objectivity and Subjective Conviction (pp ) Belief and Faith have no role in an empirical science unless it is faith in evidence Evidence as judged by the weight of evidence by a wide community is Popper’s ideal currency to a scientific community He is calling us to be true empiricists – to live without conviction, tentatively, based on evidence

11 Science and Metaphysics Any belief we consider too precious to be open to “falsification,” is a metaphysical belief for Popper It is difficult to live without “belief” psychologically – so it is difficult to be a true empirical scientist –But such is the ideal science –And also his description of how science progresses »Note not by “ideology” but by “facts”

12 Note that this was not just philosophy for Popper Jewish refugee from Vienna, 1932 Author of The Open Society and Its Enemies He personally lived through the domination of German public discourse by the Nazi ideology, and suffered from it Proposed that public debate, to guard against this, be based on “facts,” not “belief”


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