A2 Popper Recap


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A2 Popper Recap

  1. 1. Recap of... Popper
  2. 2. Fallacy of Induction <ul><li>Positivists uses inductive reasoning and verifications, both of which Popper reject. </li></ul><ul><li>Inductive reasoning is... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the process of moving from the observation of particular instance of something to arrive at a general statement or law. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Popper example of swans: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Observe large number of white swans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Generalise 'all swans are white </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One black swan would ruin the generalisation </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Falsificationism <ul><li>A scientific statement is one which Popper says is capable of being falsified, or proven wrong by evidence. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A test would disprove gravity if we let go of an object and it did not fall. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Popper: What does he consider a 'Good' Theory? <ul><li>A GOOD theory would have 2 features: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Falsifiable. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>But is, when tested, is good. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stands up to any attempts to disprove it. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bold. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tries to explain a lot, making big generalisations that exactly predict a large number of events. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Being bold would also make it more prone to falsification than a more timid theory that only explains small scale events. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Popper & 'Truth' <ul><li>There can never be any proof that knowledge is true . </li></ul><ul><li>A good theory isnt always a true theory , and so it is simply one that has withstood attempts to falsify it so far . </li></ul>
  6. 6. Criticism & Open Society <ul><li>For any theory to be falsifiable, it must be open to criticism from scientists. </li></ul><ul><li>According to Popper, science is a public activity. </li></ul><ul><li>Popper sees science as open to criticism so that flaws can be spotted straight away and newer, better theories can take its place. </li></ul><ul><li>Popper says this is why scientific knowledge grows so rapidly. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Open 'Liberal' Societies vs Closed Societies <ul><li>Open Societies : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Science thrives in open, liberal societies where free expression and challenging accepted ideas is valued. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Closed Societies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dominated by an official belief system that claims to have the absolute truth. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Examples: religions, or political belief systems like Nazism or Marxism. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stifles growth of science as it conflicts with the provisional, falsifiable nature of scientific knowledge. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Closed Society Example <ul><li>17 th century astronomer Galileo </li></ul><ul><li>Punished as a heretic by catholic church in Rome for claiming that Earth revolved around the sun and not the other way around ( heliocentrism ). </li></ul><ul><li>The C. Church taught heliocentrism. </li></ul><ul><li>Rome was a closed society dominated by the church's doctrine. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Popper's View of the Role of Science in Sociology <ul><li>Views Sociology as largely unscientific since most of it consists of theories that cannot be put to the test with the possibility of that they may be falsified. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: Marxism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Predicts revolution leading to classless society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not yet happened due to false conscientiousness of the proletariat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prediction cannot be falsified -- if there is a revolution, then Marxism is right , & if not, it is still right. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Popper: Could Sociology Ever be Scientific? <ul><li>Yes, because it is capable of producing hypotheses that can in principle be falsified. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: Julienne Ford (1969) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hypothesised comprehensive schooling would produce social mixing of pupils from different social classes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>She was able to test and falsify hypothesise through empirical research. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Popper Conclusions <ul><li>Rejects Marxism as unscientific since he argues it is untestable . </li></ul><ul><li>Does not believe untestable ideas are necessarily worthless... might be of sincere value: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>May become testable at later date. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can still examine them for clarity & logical consistency. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Helps us to formulate testable hypotheses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Might be that Soc has not existed for as long as other sciences, which may account for the larger quantity of untestable ideas. </li></ul>
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