- Copertina flessibile: 479 pagine
- Editore: Princeton Univ Pr (31 dicembre 1984)
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 0691020310
- ISBN-13: 978-0691020310
- Peso di spedizione: 499 g
- Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon:
Popper Selections (Inglese) Copertina flessibile – 31 dic 1984
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I first became interested in Popper for his view on science. In a nutshell, that falsificationism is the best (only?) approach to practicing science. Popper's view taken literally might not make a full arsenal for a working scientist, but the spirit of his idea - that mistaken but provocative theory contributes importantly to the progress of science - is liberating, even exhilirating. Sounds a little strange? Well, try it and see for yourself. Popper is probably the only philosopher of science who has had an impact on how scientists actually think about their work. Others, who may try to strike a more balanced tone, end up writing mush.
From Miller's fine collection we learn that Popper has done much more, including making important contributions to social and political theory. This book will also introduce the reader to one of Popper's personal wellsprings, the pre-Socratic philosophers. In all, this book is an intellectual treasure.
Perhaps best known for his 'Open Society and Its Enemies' (written during WWII while in New Zealand), Popper is clearly an advocate of open and free debate in all academic disciplines. Against solving irrelevant 'puzzles of language' - a habit of philosophers and Ludwig Wittgenstein in particular (Read book on this: 'Wittgenstein's Poker') - Popper is most concerned with solving real world 'problems' that impact human life. 'Our ignorance is sobering and boundless' he suggests but, together, through open-ness we can move toward finding ever-adjusting solutions for a better world.
Like other survivors of WWII (e.g. Isaiah Berlin), Popper is especially concerned with those who advocate 100% solutions to society's woes. One of our clearest advocates of the lessons of the Ancient Greeks, Popper tells us: The 'tradition of critical discussion' was the secret of the ancients. This tradition leads us to the realization that our attempts to find 'truth' are never final; and that criticism and critical discussion are our only means of getting nearer to the truth.
For those interested in: 1) Clear-headed discussions on science and philosophy, and 2) Hearing from a strong advocate of freedom and the 'western tradition' read this book. And bring a pencil.
Poppers method is to identify the mistakes made by the "great men" and therefore clear the way for further inquiry. Of all the western philosphers Plato receives the most attention. Popper finds much to admire in Plato but also much that needs amending. In an essay on "subjective" and "objective" knowledge Popper evolves his idea of a third "world" of knowledge. This autonomous third world of knowledge is reminiscent of Plato's theory of ideal forms with one essential difference. For Popper all knowledge is man made and so his third world of knowledge contains not ideals(in Popper's world ideals do not exist) but "problem situations" -- the state of a discussion or the state of a critical argument at the present time and these "states" make up the "objective contents of thought".
In the world according to Popper thought ( in the philosophic and scientific realms) evolves because a variety of thinkers make a variety of creative propositions that are then examined and found to be true or false. Popper calls this method "critical rationalism".
In each of these essays Popper addresses a key philosophic issue and discusses it with his signature grace, eloquence and humor. His contribution to social theory seems especially significant and on this topic he is especially eloquent. Being no great believer in the great man theory of history and knowing full well that all of mans ideas as well as social theories are riddled with mistakes Popper thinks the best way to advance socially is in a piecemeal fashion. This limits the harm any one man or theory or institution can do. For Popper society like philosophy and knowledge is the result of an ever renewed inquiry.
This is clearsighted and jargon free writing and these are model essays!
Popper's collected essays, derived from class lectures, offers a broad introduction to the work of this seminal philosophy. These essays cover scientism, the scientific method, the scientific attitude, nominalism, historicism, democracy, falsification principle, evolutionary thought and applications, rationality, epistemology, and more.
While heralded as the scientists' philosopher of science, Popper's thought is not so provincial. His brevity and clarity of analysis are brought to bear on many subjects, practical and theoretical. His perspicacity and directness leave no room for ambiguity. The one philosophical topic not addressed in this representative volume is ethics.
Popper's central theme, of course, is science and how the scientific attitude and method fundamentally change our modern perceptions. While no longer controversial, indeed his thought has become commonsense, he, alone of the Vienna Circle, survived intact decades later. Because of the clarity, incisiveness, and rectitude of his claims, I purposefully return to him every five or so years to get "grounded" again.
One doesn't experience "eurkea" with Popper, one simply becomes reacquainted with basic knowledge and a few first principles. Perhaps a few "tweaks" occur, but Popper is more of an anchor than a revolutionary. Even his "defense" of science comes with numerous caveats. Given the topsy-turvy intellegensia stirring up the pot with new "-isms," it's useful to have a "home" to come back to. Because his commonsense prevails, his controversial stances several decades ago, while not quite platitudes now, are "defaults" that have withstood the strongest assaults. I cannot think of another major thinker who has withstood time and challenges better.
A couple of examples of Popper's gems: Democracy is not the best form of government; rather, it is the best form for excising bad government (this novel insight, a Popper first, is repeated by many subsequent political theorists, e.g., Ian Shapiro, Michael Walzer, John Rawls, etc.). An "open society" is more important, but this preeminent value requires the "background" of democracy. Central planning by governments should be confined to the margins, tinkering with changes that can be reversed before bad policy and unintended consequences become ensconced. If useful, then begin the reach. His skepticism does not permit purchase of any ideology. All historicisms are fortune-telling religious dogma, erroneously believing the past predicts the future, or that "inevitability" resides with the forces of History. Humans exist in an "open" environment, while science's predictability requires a "closed" environment; ergo, all "human sciences" are at best informed or educated guesses. Their ability to predict is next to nil.
Again, these Popperean gems may no longer be earth-shaking insights, but they once were, and the repitition of these claims is welcome against the ever-advancing onslaught of new "-isms." Popper's innately skeptical stances are a constant reminder that our fantasies can become our nightmares. This is most evident with science, where Popper insists that all knowledge, even scientific knowledge, is "tentative" at best. It's not just its verification, but ultimately its falsification, that requires this tentative stance. And, just because "science can," does not mean "science should:" Technology must "be harnassed."
An encounter with Popper leaves one speechless. Contentious by nature, I try to find loopholes in his claims; Popper does not leave many, if any. I'm still puzzled by his appeal to nominalism, but I cannot fault his logic. His thought experiment with tripartite worlds (not "universes") of the empirical, the conscious, and their overlap, is one of the best examples of Occam's Razor. But above all, Popper is as accessible as he is grounded. His clarity, brevity, and incisiveness are not common to philosophers, and thus, all the more welcome. He may not change your life, but he will provide a needed grounding for further venture!