<history of philosophy, biography> Austrian philosopher of science and political thinker (1902-1994). According to Popper in Logik der Forschung (The Logic of Scientific Discovery) (1935), knowledge of the natural world never advances by direct confirmation of scientific theories - which cannot occur - but only indirectly, through the systematic falsification of their alternatives by reference to our experience. He defended a realistic epistemology in Objective Knowledge (1966). Applying the same methods to political science in The Open Society and its Enemies (1945) vol. 1 and vol. 2, Popper argued that the unintended harmful consequences of social planning outweigh its benefits and that citizens, therefore, must always retain an absolute right to change their form of government. Recommended Reading: Karl Raimund Popper, Poverty of Historicism (Routledge, 1993); Karl Raimund Popper, Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (Routledge, 1992); Roberta Corvi, An Introduction to the Thought of Karl Popper, tr. by Patrick Camiller (Routledge, 1996); Bryan Magee, Philosophy and the Real World: An Introduction to Karl Popper (Open Court, 1985); and Frederic Raphael, Popper (Routledge, 1999).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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