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The Logic of Scientific Discovery: 14th Printing

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  3,238 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Described by the philosopher A.J. Ayer as a work of 'great originality and power', this book revolutionized contemporary thinking on science and knowledge. Ideas such as the now legendary doctrine of 'falsificationism' electrified the scientific community, influencing even working scientists, as well as post-war philosophy. This astonishing work ranks alongside The Open So ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published October 8th 1992 by Routledge (first published 1934)
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If it was 400 pages shorter, I'd give it 5 stars.

Popper makes his point quickly and emphatically on the merits of deductive reasoning versus inductive and its use in scientific research. Unfortunately, he continues to give examples to reiterate his point. Reading the first 50 pages is good enough. But, it's a good book for any and all graduate students in the scientific field to have on a bookshelf (particularly at the bench).
"I define the empirical content of a statement p as the class of its potential falsifiers. The logical content is defined, with the help of the concept of derivability, as the class of all non-tautological statements which are derivable from the statement in question. So the logical content of p is at least equal to that of a statement q, if q is derivable from p."

If you liked that, you'll looooove this book!
Zawn Villines
If Karl Popper were still alive, he would kill E.O. Wilson, Richard Dawkins, and Richard Wrangham. And we would all be better for it. Come back, Karl Popper, and save us from the scientific masturbators.
I studied this while in grad school. My thesis, which never got much beyond the notes stage, used Popper and other epistemologies to examine the difference between "natural" sciences and "social" sciences. The basic hypothesis was that the latter rested on "essentially contested" propositions. For example, Galileo's observations of the solar system and the conclusions he drew therefrom depended on the underlying theory of optics being correct. Since both the theory and instruments were new and c ...more
Anoush Margaryan
It's a brilliant book, although the English translation could have been better. Many fascinating ideas that will be useful even (or perhaps I should say especially) to social scientists. Someone above commented that Popper over-reiterates his criticism of inductive logic - but one has to remember that this book was written in a time when psychologism was dominating the discourse. And today, when all sorts of superstitions and general lack of critical thinking are rife in many disciplines as well ...more
Robb Wirthlin
I volunteered to read this book in my PhD Doctoral Seminar because I thought my German language abilities would help me further understand Karl Popper.

It didn't.

Here's my review:

Grappling with underlying ideas of how science is “discovered” and the underlying problems that exist with new knowledge? Sir Karl Popper’s book, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, directly addresses these issues and additionally tackles a theme important to philosophy – epistemology or the growth of knowledge. A critica
I've been wanting to read this since Dr. Steinhoff's Philosophy of Science class at USU turned me on to Popper and Feyerabend and the boys in the year 2000. The beginning and the end were amazing (5 stars), but I wasn't smart enough for the meat in the middle. I really like the idea of falsification. We would be better off if we all tried to disprove our ideas logically thus testing their strength instead of just holding our ground knowing we are right and God is on our side.
Yasiru (reviews will soon be removed and linked to blog)
The Popular Popper series appears to be missing on the Goodreads database. I'll leave this link for the companion to the present work till such time as this is rectified-

I find this lecture by Popper a great introduction to his work in general-
Elliott Bignell
Popper enjoys a reputation as the greatest philosopher of the 20th Century. This book, in which he elucidated the doctrine of falsification still espoused by prominent scientific commentators like Richard Dawkins and endorsed by most scientists, went a long way to establishing that reputation. I would go so far as to say that you cannot understand a keystone in the philosophy of science without reading this work.

This is not an easy book to read - it is a little mathematical here and there, and t
M Pereira
There is too much to say about this book so I might summarise the real highlights:

1. Popper elucidates and defends against critics the thesis of Falsificationism.
2. As well as the idea about falsification that everyone knows about, Popper constructs a probability model which is made from the tools of modern logic to create an epistemology of science, its very complicated stuff and I only understood about 2% of it.
3. Popper should be understood in terms of the people he is responding to: JM Keyn
This is a difficult book. Popper assumes a lot of knowledge in the reader regarding probability theory, quantum mechanics, and logic. It's not a work for the layman. As such, the entire chapter on probability (the lengthiest chapter, if I recall) was beyond my grasp. As was the chapter on quantum theory. Many of the appendices were highly technical in nature and were, too, incomprehensible to me. Regardless, Popper's demarcation criterion of falsifiability separating empirical science from metap ...more
Arys Aditya
Biasanya, Popper dikenal lewat bukunya, Open Societies and It's Enemies, padahal buku itu, bagi saya, adalah sekuel dari buku ini. Benar, saya menaydari bahwa buku inilah akar pemikiran Popper yang menjelaskan duduk perkara kenapa ia begitu mencintai demokrasi dan tidak menginginkan totalitarisme berkuasa.
Akan tetapi jangan lupakan, buku ini juga adalah salah satu perintis aliran filsafat ilmu. Lewat konsepnya yang terkenal, yakni falsifikasi, Popper adalah salah satu filsuf cum ilmuwan yang har
The middle section is too technical for me. I am reading a book on logic in the hope it might help me. It is worth sticking with as popper sums everything up well at the end. i knew the ideas, but had forgotten them in my work. the belief in induction is still very prevalent among young scientists who feels constrained by the feeling that they cannot speculate about things and that science is a dry subject that progresses in small incremental steps devoid of wonder and imagination. for popper sc ...more
If you want to understand the meaning of science,this is a must read.
Jake Leech
I once got a degree in philosophy, but I managed to get it without ever actually reading an entire philosophy book. Then I kind of went into science. Then I turned 30 and decided I should actually learn some of the things I was supposed to have learned in college, and read an entire philosophy book. I chose Popper's Logic of Scientific Discovery because it's a real philosophy book that also has had a huge impact on science--any scientist who has looked into how science works has heard of Popper' ...more
Brian Powell
The Logic of Scientific Discovery is Karl Popper's great work in which he lays out his thesis of deductivism -- a logical approach to science based on the falsification, rather than confirmation, of hypotheses. The act of confirming a hypothesis cannot be made deductively valid, because it commits the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent (if hypothesis H predicts observation O, it is incorrect to conclude that observing O implies the correctness of H). The act of falsification, on the oth ...more
An elegant although highly idealistic response to Hume's problem of induction. Popper is interested in reclaiming the objectivity of science, and while it's not obvious he succeeds, he writes with great conversational clarity, which makes this an exhilarating and unexpectedly fast read. Basic knowledge about Hume, Kant, Newton, Einstein, 20th century Positivism (Note: Popper is not a fan of positivism) would be helpful when first approaching this, but even though the book's arguments can get den ...more
Tim Patrick
This book is not for the faint of heart. It is a serious book discussing the philosophy of scientific experimentation, and is filled with formulas, Greek letters, and hundreds of pages of end notes. Just to be clear: Einstein liked this book, so you need to be prepared for its complexity. His core idea is that theories are only actual science when they can be subjected to falsifiable experiments. That is, you have to be able to prove a theory wrong for it to be valid, at least in terms of good s ...more
90% of the value of Popper today, especially for the non-scientist is in the first part of the book. Popper reconciles Kant's observations about how the world is ultimately filtered through the lenses of space and time with a fundamentally empiricist, materialist sense of reality. While I disagree with some of his assertions-- especially his complete disavowal of inductive reasoning, and his general disregard for non-scientific knowledge-- I respect his method and, as a fellow empiricist, believ ...more
El trabajo mas importante de Karl Popper, en el explica con gran claridad su visión respecto a la ciencia como un sistema ordenado de hipótesis y conjeturas y no de conocimiento (episteme) ,el criterio de demarcación y la necesidad de falsificación en las teorías científicas para poder ser tomadas como tal es posiblemente su aporte mas importante a la filosofía de la ciencia.

Durante el libro se critica duramente la filosofía positivista y atomista particularmente representada en algunos puntos p
Fil Krynicki
I must admit, I gave up 25% through Karl Popper's formulation of probability theory. It seemed to be retreading a great deal of ground quite slowly. I don't doubt that there is value there, but I am perhaps not so interested in a logically-based theory of probability as I supposed. I hope to return to this, some day, if only to read his thoughts of the decideability of probablity statements, which was that which motivated me to foray beyond falsification in the first place.

The core tenet of fals
This is not an easy-to-read book. I've read Popper's 'Open society and its Enemies' and that was a lot easier going. However, this is Popper's definitive work on the difference between science and non-science, and how to tell them apart. When you hear scientists refer to Popper they are referring to this book.

He also delves into the thinking behind probability theory and interestingly questions some of the fundamental assumptions there, and then goes on to apply those ideas to quantum physics an
This is a great book for those interested in the Philosophy of Science but it gets a bit difficult with al of the equations. But as an admirer of science it is essential to understanding how hypotheses are formed and revised. It also is incredibly generous in its updating of maxims concerning the idol of certainty and demonstrable knowledge. With specific experiments to illustrate the point the delve into some deep quantum theory. Some of it is definitely out of my league and be forewarned about ...more
"He turned the pages hoping to understand . . .

. . .

But nothing happened."

I guess it is probably a falsifiable statement that it is impossible for me to understand what Popper is talking about after the first chapter, but I am not really sure.

Popper uses lots of math and mathematical concepts and allusions to the work of his contemporaries without explaining what's going on. Probably a really great book if you are Karl Popper. (Corroboration: He seems to have enjoyed reading and rereading it a
Kasia Mrowca
This is 'the must read' for all science related people ;)
Steven Williams
Good content, but dry delivery.
A fundamental book for the philosophy of science. The central idea is that the most valuable theories are those that can be tested, and the purpose of science is to propose those hypotheses that are simple (in the dimension of their parameters), more universal and more precise, and then try as hard as posible to falsify them.

It's ideas on probability theory seem dated, but a better appraisal is due from my part. But that should wait until I read through Kolmogorov and Jaynes main works.
John Peralta
Karl Popper is a leading philosopher of science. In this book he introduced the concept of falsifiability. Put simply, no theory can be considered a scientific theory unless it can be scrutinized through testing in such a way that it is possible for the test to fail. If it is not possible to design a test that could fail, the theory is not testable and therefore would not qualify as scientific.
Extremely interesting, if very hard to get through at times. In particular, I really found his arguments on falsifiability's role in science, and the role of probability in science thought provoking. I will definitely have to revisit this book sometime in the near future. This is definitely required reading for anyone working in a physical science or in a field that believes it is scientific.
Premal Vora
The best and most lucid description of the scientific method. The scientific method as it is understood today has been very closely associated with philosopher Karl Popper and his followers. When you find out that in school your kid is being taught the "scientific method" this is what they are talking about. A book that has been on my shelf for 20 years. A classic.
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  • Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge
  • Proofs and Refutations: The Logic of Mathematical Discovery
  • Word and Object
  • Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues
  • Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction
  • Naming and Necessity
  • The Two Cultures & A Second Look: An Expanded Version of The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution
  • Language, Truth, and Logic
  • The Concept of Mind
  • Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science
  • The Foundations of Arithmetic: A Logico-Mathematical Enquiry into the Concept of Number
  • Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science
  • Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature
  • The View from Nowhere
  • On the Plurality of Worlds
  • The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory
  • Principia Ethica (Philosophical Classics)
  • Karl Popper
Sir Karl Raimund Popper CH, FRS, FBA (28 July 1902 – 17 September 1994) was an Austrian and British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics. He is counted among the most influential philosophers of science of the 20th century, and also wrote extensively on social and political philosophy. Popper is known for repudiating the classical observationalist/inductivist account of sc ...more
More about Karl R. Popper...

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“For myself, I am interested in science and in philosophy only because I want to learn something about the riddle of the world in which we live, and the riddle of man's knowledge of that world. And I believe that only a revival of interest in these riddles can save the sciences and philosophy from an obscurantist faith in the expert's special skill and in his personal knowledge and authority.” 35 likes
“In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable: and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.” 12 likes
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