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What needed to be reconciled between Carl Popper and Thomas Kuhn?
Karl Popper (1902-1994) claimed that scientists ought to change their theories when they were falsified and that the hallmark of a scientific theory was its ability to be falsified. Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996) believed that, in fact, many accepted scientific theories had plenty of known, falsifying data. The problem was that Kuhn's account did not allow for progress in science, according to Popper's criterion of falsification, and that Popper's theory seemed to be unrealistic.
How did Imre Lakatos' research program reconcile Popper and Kuhn's work?
Lakatos (1922-1974) described a scientific method to both allow for progress and explain how science had developed. Instead of talking about theories, he introduced the notion of a "research program," which consisted of both theories and accepted research practices in a given field. Every research program has a core, or "protective belt," of claims that could not be falsified.
Degenerating research programs have growing protective belts and fail to predict new facts or create new projects for discovery; they survive by adding ad hoc hypotheses. Progressive research programs are able to support new projects of discovery that do not produce vast amounts of falsifying data requiring revision of the core; they do not significantly rely on ad hoc hypotheses.
The way that Lakatos reconciled the discrepancy between Popper and Kuhn's account of science was to shift ground from the static relationship between facts and theories to the dynamic nature of scientific practice. Popper's view was that scientific truth changes when theories are falsified, whereas Kuhn thought that theories were not falsified so much as overthrown. Lakatos made scientific practice, rather than beliefs about the truth of theories, his subject.
Who was Paul Feyerabend?
Paul Feyerabend (1924-1994), who was a friend and colleague of Imre Lakatos (1922-1974), is famous for his anarchist view of science. He was born in Vienna, Austria, and served in the German army during World War II, sustaining a bullet to the spine. After the war, he studied at the London School of Economics, with Karl Popper (1902-1994) as his advisor. During this time he began a dialogue with Lakatos, taking a stand against Lakatos' rationalist scientific project. But publication of this joint work was curtailed by Lakatos' death. Feyerabend had a lifelong interest in theater and opera and taught at the University of California at Berkeley after 1958.
Feyerabend's main writings include Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge (1975), Science in a Free Society (1978), Realism, Rationalism and Scientific Method: Philosophical Papers, Volume 1 (1981), Problems of Empiricism: Philosophical Papers, Volume 2 (1981), and the recklessly titled Farewell to Reason (1987). His autobiography is Killing Time: The Autobiography of Paul Feyerabend(1995).
What was Paul Feyerabend's view of science?
He did not think it was possible to construct a philosophy of science that set out invariable rules for scientific progress. Instead, he argued that the most important scientific revolutions proceeded in violation of standing accepted methodological rules. He believed, for example, that the "consistency criterion," which posits that new theories not contradict older ones, is not a rational rule but an aesthetic one, insofar as old theories have been falsified.
Feyerabend also argued against Karl Popper's (1902-1994) idea of falsification on the grounds that interesting theories are not constructed in accordance with all relevant facts. One example of this was how the Renaissance astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) and his followers disregarded some of their telescopic observations during the construction of their optical theory. Feyerabend claimed that Lakatos' notion of a research program was a form of his own anarchism in disguise; he dedicated Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge (1975) to Lakatos as his "fellow-anarchist." philosophy of mind and
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