In Karl Popper’s seminal book, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, the Austrian philosopher of science makes the case for deductive logic in the scientific enterprise. It is a challenging read, but I want to leave you with his last three paragraphs, which are more accessible and a beauty to read.
Translation by the author with assistance from Dr. Julius Freed and Lan Freed.
“The old scientific ideal of episteme–of absolutely certain, demonstrable knowledge–has proved to be an idol. The demand for scientific objectivity makes it inevitable that every scientific statement must remain tentative for ever. It may indeed be corroborated, but every corroboration is relative to other statements which, again, are tentative. Only in our subjective experiences of conviction, in our subjective faith, can we be ‘absolutely certain’.
“With the idol of certainty (including that of degrees of imperfect certainty or probability) there falls one of the…
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