Karl Popper: “Falsacionismo” / “Principio de Falsabilidad”.-


Falsehood or Principle of Falsehood is an epistemological current founded by the Austrian philosopher Karl Popper.

For Popper, finding a theory means trying to refute it by a counterexample. If it is not possible to refute it, this theory is corroborated, and can be accepted provisionally, but never verified. Within the methodological falsificationism, one can differentiate the initial naive falsificationism of Popper and the sophisticated falsificationism of the late work of Popper and the methodology of the research programs of Imre Lakatos.

The problem of induction arises from the fact that we can never say anything universal from the particular data that experience offers us. By many millions of black crows we see we can never say that “all crows are black.” Instead if we find a single raven that is not black, if we can say “Not all crows are black.” For that reason Popper introduces falsificationism as a criterion of scientific demarcation.

Popper actually rejects verificationism as a method of validation of theories. Popper’s central thesis is that there can be no ultimate scientific statements, that is, they can not be contrasted or refuted from experience. Experience remains the distinctive method that characterizes empirical science and distinguishes it from other theoretical systems.

For Popper scientific rationality does not require unquestionable starting points, because there are none. The matter is a matter of method. Although science is inductive, in the first instance, the most important aspect is the deductive part. Science is characterized by being rational, and rationality resides in the process by which we submit to criticism and replace our beliefs. Facing the problem of induction Popper proposes a series of methodological rules that allow us to decide when to reject a hypothesis.

Popper proposes a scientific method of conjecture by which the observable consequences are deduced and put to the test. If the consequence fails, the hypothesis is refuted and must be rejected. Otherwise, if everything is checked, the process is repeated considering other deductible consequences. When a hypothesis has survived various attempts at refutation, it is said to be corroborated, but this does not allow us to affirm that it has been definitively confirmed, but only provisionally, by empirical evidence.

For falsificationists the scientist is an artist in that he must boldly propose a theory that will then be subjected to rigorous experiments and observations. The advance in science is to falsify successive theories so, knowing what is not, to be able to get closer and closer to what is.

The hypotheses proposed by the falsificationists must be falsifiable. This means that they must be susceptible of being falsified. To meet this condition, the hypotheses should be as general as possible and as clear and precise as possible. A non-falsifiable hypothesis would be “Tomorrow may rain”, since in no case can it be falsified.

A falsifiable hypothesis would be “the planet Mercury rotates in an orbit”. A more general hypothesis and therefore more falsifiable would be “all the planets revolve in an orbit”. And a more precise and therefore more falsifiable hypothesis would be “all the planets revolve in an elliptical orbit.”

The falsificationists, who rely on the hypothetical deductive method, prefer the hypotheses or theories that are more falsifiable, that is to say, more likely to be proved false, until they have already been falsified. Thus science would progress on the basis of trial and error.-

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Karl Popper: “Falsacionismo” / “Principio de Falsabilidad”:

Karl Raimund Popper ( 1902 / 1994 ).-

El Falsacionismo o Principio de Falsabilidad es una corriente epistemológica fundada por el filósofo austríaco Karl Popper.

Para Popper, constatar una teoría significa intentar refutarla mediante un contraejemplo. Si no es posible refutarla, dicha teoría queda corroborada, pudiendo ser aceptada provisionalmente, pero nunca verificada. Dentro del falsacionismo metodológico, se pueden diferenciar el falsacionismo ingenuo inicial de Popper y el falsacionismo sofisticado de la obra tardía de Popper y la metodología de los programas de investigación de Imre Lakatos.

El problema de la inducción nace del hecho de que nunca podremos afirmar algo universal a partir de los datos particulares que nos ofrece la experiencia. Por muchos millones de cuervos negros que veamos nunca podremos afirmar que “todos los cuervos son negros”. En cambio si encontramos un solo cuervo que no sea negro, si podremos afirmar “No todos los cuervos son negros”. Por esa razón Popper introduce como criterio de…

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2 thoughts on “Karl Popper: “Falsacionismo” / “Principio de Falsabilidad”.-

  1. Thanks so much for sharing and for providing such a great, clever and thorough summary. I particularly like whe you say: “For falsificationists the scientist is an artist in that he must boldly propose a theory that will then be subjected to rigorous experiments and observations. The advance in science is to falsify successive theories so, knowing what is not, to be able to get closer and closer to what is”… I couldn´t have said it with better words, myself 😉 great job, my friend. Sending all my best wishes. 😀


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