[lit-ideas] Re: Is this word really necessary?

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 30 Aug 2010 11:13:35 -0700 (PDT)

--- On Sun, 29/8/10, Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx <Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx> wrote:

>I would think that for POPPER (I have to motivate others on this list), some 
>words are unnecessary. All metaphysical words, for Popper, are unnecessary: 
>'soul', 'life', 'afterlife', 'soul', 'life', 'death', 'life', >'soul', 
>'value', 'ethics', 'moral'. 

I venture he has used all these words, and is not so stupid as to believe they 
are all necessarily "metaphysical words". "Soul" and "afterlife" may be beyond 
the realms of testable/falsifiable claims but "life" and "death" are arguably 
not. The claim you make is effectively the old canard that Popper is a logical 
positivist of some sort.
>For Popper even 'dispositional' terms (e.g. 'fragile') are unnecessary. "The 
>jar is fragile". What is 'verified', or 'falsified', in his parlance, is: "The 
>jar did break". "To be able to be broken" seems, >for Popper, a rather 
>unnecessary turn of phrase.

On the contrary he takes a term like "jar" - better "glass jar" - to be 
testable because the object has dispositional states. If the "glass jar" 
dissolves when placed to within two feet of sugar we conclude this 
"disposition" shows it is not actually a "glass jar" - or if we still want to 
call it a "glass jar" we now accept at least that it is one with properties 
different to 'glass jars' that don't so dissolve.

He is, you might find, quite a fan of tests and not much of meaningless 

Also he wrote of the importance of "changing propensities for change" and these 
are about dispositional states. They are to Popper almost the very fabric of 
the open universe as we know it, scientifically and metaphysically.


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