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The Logic of Scientific Discovery

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  4,614 ratings  ·  128 reviews
When first published in 1959, this book revolutionized contemporary thinking about science and knowledge. It remains the one of the most widely read books about science to come out of the twentieth century.

(Note: the book was first published in 1934, in German, with the title Logik der Forschung. It was "reformulated" into English in 1959. See Wikipedia for details.)
Paperback, 480 pages
Published March 31st 2002 by Routledge (first published 1934)
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Shahidur Sikder In or under no circumstances i.e. in that case there is no answer because it is not possible to take back our imagination power or philosophical refle…moreIn or under no circumstances i.e. in that case there is no answer because it is not possible to take back our imagination power or philosophical reflection before it.


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Roy Lotz
We do not know: we can only guess.

Karl Popper originally wrote Logik der Forchung (The Logic of Research) in 1934. This original version—published in haste to secure an academic position and escape the threat of Nazism (Popper was of Jewish descent)—was heavily condensed at the publisher’s request; and because of this, and because it remained untranslated from the German, the book did not receive the attention it deserved. This had to wait until 1959, when Popper finally released a revised a
Jun 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
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).
Jul 19, 2007 added it
"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!
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Strictly to be confined within the realms of the scientific disciplines. But as far as other realms of human activity are concerned, the methodology espoused here is to be taken in caution.
Sep 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
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 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
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it
If only I was clever enough to understand anything...
Otto Lehto
Jun 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
His reputation preceding him, with a pretty good idea of what the main arguments of the book are, it is a daunting task to read Popper in the original. But it soon becomes clear that there is enough value, ingenuity and originality in "The Logic" to merit reading the original book in lieu of, or in addition to, later clarifications, commentaries and critiques (including some by Popper himself).

First, a warning. The logical complexity and mathematical sophistication of his arguments, combined wi
About the usage of Chloroquine in time of coronavirus. Magic versus science.
Elliott Bignell
Nov 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book requires slow reading and requires a solid grasp of scientific experimentation, methodologies and the logic of science. If you don't, but have the interest and willingness to learn, it is a good book about the nature of scientific knowledge and its implications. It proposes that no matter how many experiments you do, you can ever prove a theory. However, an experiment, that can be reproduced, can actually disprove one. I took a Philosophy of Science Couse in college that explained the ...more
Jul 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 17, 2013 marked it as to-read
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-
Feb 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
At first sight, one might be tempted to think that science, which has solid roots on experimental, and thus empirical, verification, could dispense with metaphysical claims. In fact, nowadays one hears the quote by so many famous popularizers of science - 'philosophy is dead'. Science stands on its own, as a self-contained structure that is immune to metaphysics and psychologism. This, I think, is a complete perversion of how science is conducted; and so does Popper.

He argues that science does
Leopold Benedict
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Karl Popper's (1902-1994) influence on our current conception of science can hardly be overestimated. He tackles the problem of induction, which was originally evoked by David Hume (1711-1776). Induction describes the process that single observations lead to the formulation of a universal rule. The problem is that induction assumes that past processes stay the same in the future and that causality links two points of observation. Both assumptions cannot be proven. We cannot assume that the laws ...more
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
Tim Patrick
Jun 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Al Sabawi
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A must read for logical thinkers and rationalists
Wandi Suhendi
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
the philosophy of science and the falsification theories by Karl Raimund Popper
Apr 21, 2017 rated it liked it
What more is to be said of this historical work? Popper does not waste time with a lead up to the significance of falsification in scientific discovery. However, to someone who has not studied logic before, it is not clear where he is coming from and whether his is a true discovery. Indeed, falsification is based on a logical rule of inference known from ancient times called modus tollens (MT) (P then Q; not Q, therefore not P). It highlights the asymmetry between verifiability and falsifiabilit ...more
Alexander Weber
Jan 08, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was hard to read, so I wanted to give it a 2/5 stars. However, it's important for introducing the idea of falsification as the benchmark for demarcating science against pseudoscience, even if today that stands on shaky ground (see Feyerabend, someone whose work I plan on reading next). And for that I wanted to give it a higher rating. So 3/5 it is.

I found a LOT of the text in this book to be obscure, not only in its writing style, but also allusions and references which were probably m
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Quality of the writing: 5
Quality of the content/organisation/research: 5
Impact on my perspective: 4
Personal resonance: 1
Rereading potential: 3
Overall score: 4

The reason I read it: Researching the classic philosophy of science texts. I'd also wanted to read it for a few years and was scared of not understanding it. 

The problem with reading books that you've known for ages you really should read and which seem to be referenced everywhere, but which you've been putting off because any time you open
Ben Chugg
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
An appetizer to his more wide-ranging and substantial works, The Logic of Scientific Discovery illuminates Popper’s early thinking on knowledge, progress, and truth. While many of the core ideas in this work were later expanded and clarified, Popper’s clear and decisive thinking are still on display. Side-stepping useless arguments about the meaning of words, the “essence” of concepts, or whether there exists an ultimate logical foundation for everything, Popper argues that progress entails maki ...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
This is not for the general reader, even one particularly interested in philosophy or science, as am I. It addresses the philosophy of science in a manner similar to Wittgenstein's later characterization of his "Philosophical Investigations" as his attempts to untangle various confusions besetting discourse in that field.

Popper's tools are largely formalizations of scientific process and interpretation. This tends to give it somewhat the flavor of Whitehead's "Principia Mathematica", with some o
Steve Dewey
Umm, how do I review a book like this? I can't say I "enjoyed" it. It's not a book for enjoying. And it's a book I could understand better with several readings -- however, as I'm not an academic by day, and have many other things to read, I will never read it many more times. There are also parts of it I will never understand without a more thorough grounding in mathematical logic or propositional logic. In the end I skipped whole sections of the book that were going in one eye and out of the o ...more
Alexander Smith
This book has been said to be one of the modern fundamentals of philosophy of science. Seeing as the logic of this book has been considered an adoration of social and natural scientists alike, I felt a moral obligation to read it. Upon completion, in short, I thought Popper make a few very clear and solid points (largely in Part I), however they were not without faults of social, behavioral ignorance of scientists.

This book is very approachable and science friendly. It's no wonder scientists lov
Oct 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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Sir Karl Raimund Popper, FRS, rose from a modest background as an assistant cabinet maker and school teacher to become one of the most influential theorists and leading philosophers. Popper commanded international audiences and conversation with him was an intellectual adventure—even if a little rough—animated by a myriad of philosophical problems. He contributed to a field of thought encompassing ...more

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