[lit-ideas] Re: The Worlds of Sir Karl Popper

  • From: Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 8 Feb 2015 22:50:17 +0100

The notion that the commitment to rationalism is a choice or decision which
cannot itself be rationally justified - or that to justify it in rational
terms would be sort of circular - is, I think, found in the Open Society
and Its Enemies. Is this reckoned an early work ?

O.K.

On Sun, Feb 8, 2015 at 9:35 PM, Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
wrote:

> JLS' post ends
> >Did [Popper] ever acknowledged that perhaps he was (let's say,
> 'falsificationally')
> mistaken?>
>
> Perhaps we should distinguish major and minor points, as it were, and here
> ask the question in relation to major points (errors on minor points being
> of secondary importance to errors on major ones)?
>
> The answer is yes: one acknowledged major error is Popper's proposed
> definition of 'verisimiltude', which was independently shown to be be
> mistaken by Pavel Tichy and David Miller (the latter Popper's research
> assistant for many years).
>
> Another major example arises in connection with another part of JLS' post:
>
> >He wasn't waiting for the solution of problems that the invocation of
> these
> three realms would create. Perhaps he even relished the fact that his
> invocation of three worlds would create problems.
>
> That would be odd, since he thought, Popper did, that solvable, and
> reasonable, problems arise in _science_, rather than philosophy; yet the
> invocation of three worlds, as McEvoy might agree, pertains to
> _metaphysics_,  where
> 'progress' is, if I may use a mixed metaphor, more obscure.>
>
> I think Popper did indeed relish the problem-generating nature of the
> theory that (in addition to W1 and W2) there is a W3. But this is not so
> "odd" when seen against a very important strand of Popper's theory of
> knowledge, which might be described loosely as follows.
>
> There is a kind of position that says for every genuine problem there is a
> solution [on one interpretation, we might extract this view from W in the
> Tractatus - "The riddle does not exist"; or Hume, in the mode in which he
> was a forerunner of Logical Positivism]. This position is refuted, we might
> say, by the existence of insoluble problems [though of course the
> refutation can always be evaded - either by maintaining that presently
> insoluble problems will nevertheless prove soluble or by maintaining an
> insoluble problem is never a genuine problem].
>
> Against all this, Popper does think it likely that there are genuine
> problems that may be permanently insoluble, though we should not be
> dogmatic as to what they are - for even problems that now appear insoluble
> may in time be solved (as the history of ideas shows). But he also thinks
> problems typically have depth. So much so we may say that for every genuine
> solution (to a problem) there is a problem i.e. that even the most
> successful solutions typically create new problems - problems that arise in
> the light of the solution. Thus Popper's schema of problems and (tentative)
> solutions, which he applies to the growth of knowledge in all fields, does
> not lead to a point of finality but to further problems requiring further
> (tentative) solutions.
>
> There is a major error Popper made in his first work in relation to all
> this: he at first wrongly identified the limits of rationality with the
> limits of science i.e. took the position that only scientific problems
> could be resolved in a rational way, whereas metaphysical/non-scientific
> problems could not. This error was tied into some other errors, including
> the error of thinking rationality could not ultimately be rationally based
> because it always involved a prior non-rational commitment to rationality.
>
> This major error was admitted by Popper and its correction is important to
> understanding his mature philosophy. He does continue to accept that
> metaphysical dispute is typically less amenable to rational solution than
> the problems of science, but contends that a more-or-less rational approach
> is possible even to metaphysical problems - and some would contend, on his
> behalf, that his own work exemplifies the rational approach to
> philosophical questions.
>
> Dnl
> Ldn
>
>
>
>   On Sunday, 8 February 2015, 13:23, "dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <
> dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>
>
>
>
> In a message dated 2/5/2015 9:11:22 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
> donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
> D
> Waiting for time and  space
> Ldn
>
> Well, space seems to be encompassed by Ldn, although it is a  tricky
> referential expression, if ever there was one. I think Mill discusses the
> denotation (never connotation) of "London" in System of Logic (the
> logical
> textbook for any nineteenth-century Oxonian student) and concludes that
> it
> overlaps with what the Romans called "Londinium".
>
> While Donal is 'waiting for time and space', one wonders about Popper.
> Sometime, Popper decides that there are three worlds. He wasn't _waiting_.
> He
> wasn't waiting for the solution of problems that the invocation of these
> three  realms would create. Perhaps he even relished the fact that his
> invocation of  three worlds would create problems.
>
> That would be odd, since he thought, Popper did, that solvable, and
> reasonable, problems arise in _science_, rather than philosophy; yet the
> invocation of three worlds, as McEvoy might agree, pertains to
> _metaphysics_,  where
> 'progress' is, if I may use a mixed metaphor, more obscure.
>
> There are paradigmatic items for each world as appealed by Popper. W1 is
> the physical world of 'material objects', such as ... Eddington's Table.
> But
> Eddington was never sure what his table consisted of. He concluded:
> wavicles.
>
> W2 is the world of the Psyche -- something so ethereal that the Greeks
> represented as a female with eternal curiosity (as per Canova's statue --
> I'm
> actually studying the libretto to Bartok's "Bluebeard" where the
> references
> to  this topic may be seen to re-appear). W2 is the world of the soul, 50%
> of  philosophers agree that does not exist.
>
> W3 is the world of objective knowledge, when Popper knows that most
> philosophers take 'knowledge' to pertain to psychology, and avoid
> 'objective'
> like the rats (This English expression, 'like the rats', shows little
> sympathy
> for this species of mammals). It is perhaps Popper's most controversial
> world.
>
> There was once a film (a flop in London): "The World of Beatrix Potter".
> It
> is in this spirit that I have entitled this post as I have.
>
> So what was Popper thinking when he comes with this which he KNEW was
> going
> to be 'controversial'. Was there progress in his view of this. Did he ever
> acknowledged that perhaps he was (let's say, 'falsificationally')
> mistaken?
>
> Cheers,
>
> Speranza
>
>
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