The Logic of Scientific Discovery

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The Logic of Scientific Discovery
The Logic of Scientific Discovery (German edition).jpg
Cover of the first edition
Author Karl Popper
Original title Logik der Forschung
Cover artist Dibakar Das
Language German
Subject Philosophy of science
  • 1934 (Mohr Siebeck, in German)
  • 1959 (in English)
Media type Print
Pages 513 (2002 Routledge edition)
ISBN 3-16-148410-X (German edition)
0-415-27844-9 (2002 Routledge edition)
OCLC 62448100

The Logic of Scientific Discovery is a 1959 book about the philosophy of science by Karl Popper. Popper rewrote his book in English from the 1934 German original, titled Logik der Forschung. Zur Erkenntnistheorie der modernen Naturwissenschaft, which literally translates as, Logic of Research: On the Epistemology of Modern Natural Science.[1] The work is famous.[2]


Popper argues that science should adopt a methodology based on falsifiability, because no number of experiments can ever prove a theory, but a single experiment can contradict one. Popper held that empirical theories are characterized by falsifiability.


The Logic of Scientific Discovery is famous.[2] The psychologist Harry Guntrip wrote that its publication "greatly stimulated the discussion of the nature of scientific knowledge", including by philosophers who did not completely agree with Popper, such as Thomas Kuhn and Horace Romano Harré.[3] Carl Jung, founder of analytical psychology, valued the work. The biographer Vincent Brome recalls Jung remarking in 1938 that it exposed "some of the shortcomings of science".[4] The historian Peter Gay described Popper's work as "an important treatise in epistemology".[5] The philosopher Bryan Magee wrote that Popper's criticisms of logical positivism were "devastating". In his view, Popper's most important argument against logical positivism is that, while it claimed to be a scientific theory of the world, its central tenet, the verification principle, effectively destroyed all of science.[6] The physicists Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont argued that critiques of Popper's work have provoked an "irrationalist drift", and that a significant part of the problems that currently affect the philosophy of science "can be traced to ambiguities or inadequacies" in Popper's book.[7]


  1. ^ Karl Popper ([1979] 2009). The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge, Troels Eggers Hansen ed., Andreas Pickel, trans., p. 485, fn. 5.
  2. ^ a b Cornforth, Maurice (1968). The Open Philosophy and the Open Society: A Reply to Dr. Karl Popper's Refutations of Marxism. New York: International Publishers. p. 5. 
  3. ^ Guntrip, H (September 1978). "Psychoanalysis and some scientific and philosophical critics: (Dr Eliot Slater, Sir Peter Medawar and Sir Karl Popper)". The British journal of medical psychology. 51 (3): 207–24. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8341.1978.tb02466.x. PMID 356870. 
  4. ^ Brome, Vincent (1980). Jung: Man and Myth. London: Paladin. p. 14. ISBN 0-586-08361-8. 
  5. ^ Gay, Peter (1988). Style in History: Gibbon, Ranke, Macaulay, Burckhardt. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 232. ISBN 0-393-30558-9. 
  6. ^ Magee, Bryan. Confessions of a Philosopher. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1997, p. 46.
  7. ^ Sokal, Alan. Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture. Oxford University Press, 2008, pp. 182-183.

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