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The Open Universe: An Argument for Indeterminism from the PostScript to the Logic of Scientific Discovery

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  28 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
First published in 1988. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
Paperback, 212 pages
Published April 10th 1992 by Routledge (first published August 1st 1982)
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Durval Menezes
Jan 15, 2017 Durval Menezes rated it it was amazing
Popper is peerless, in my opinion the best philosopher of the 20th century, head-and-shoulders above the rest.

This book is no exception: Popper takes a very difficult theme and writes about it simply and concisely (alas, this is part of the author's personal ethics: see his letter titled "Against Big Words"), and manages to cover everything very well.

In fact, I'm right now writing the graduation thesis for my Philosophy Baccalaureate based exactly on this book.
Bob S.
Feb 28, 2011 Bob S. rated it really liked it
Shelves: professional, freedom
I picked up this book because of my interest in skepticism, epistemology, and the philosophy of science. I was familiar with the author (previously having written about him in my undergraduate thesis, "the Afterlife of Memory"). That being said, I was impressed not only by the meticulous thinking for which Popper is famous, but also by the applicability of some of the issues raised to my chosen field of Business Analysis.

As a Business Analyst, I occasionally encounter two types of resistance to
...more
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Sir Karl Raimund Popper was born in Vienna on 28 July 1902. His rise from a modest background as an assistant cabinet maker and school teacher to one of the most influential theorists and leading philosophers was characteristically Austrian. Popper commanded international audiences and conversation with him was an intellectual adventure - even if a little rough -, animated by a myriad of philosoph ...more
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“I see our scientific theories as human inventions–nets designed by us to catch the world. [...] What we aim at is truth: we test our theories in the hope of eliminating those which are not true. In this way we may succeed in improving our theories–even as instruments: in making nets which are better and better adapted to catch our fish, the real world. Yet they will never be perfect instruments for this purpose. They are rational nets of our own making, and should not be mistaken for a complete representation of the real world in all its aspects; not even if they are highly successful ; not even if they appear to yield excellent approximations to reality. If we keep clearly before our minds that our theories are our own work; that we are fallible; and that our theories reflect our fallibility, then we shall doubt whether general features of our theories, such as their simplicity, or their prima facie deterministic character, correspond to features of the real world. [...] The world, as we know it, is highly complex; and although it may possess structural aspects which are simple in some sense or other, the simplicity of some of our theories–which is of our own making–does not entail the intrinsic simplicity of the world. The situation with regard to determinism is similar. Newton’s theory, consisting of the law of inertia, the law of gravity, etc., may be true, or very approximately true, i.e., the world may be as the theory asserts it is. But there is no statement of determinism in this theory; the theory nowhere asserts that the world is determined; rather it is the theory itself which as that character which I called ‘prima facie deterministic’. Now the prima facie deterministic character of a theory is closely related to its simplicity; prima facie deterministic theories are comparatively easily testable, and the tests may be made more and more precise and severe. [...] At the same time, it seems no more justifiable to infer from their success that the world has an intrinsically deterministic character than to infer that the world is intrinsically simple.” 0 likes
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