3 years ago

Kuhn vs Popper - About James H. Collier

Kuhn vs Popper - About James H. Collier

appropriate response is

appropriate response is to hypothesise and testanew, not to rationalise the situation by claimingthat the old hypothesis was ‘really’ true butsomehow the test fell victim to factors beyond thescientist’s control. The scientist might be prone tosuch rationalisation because of her researchprogramme’s past successes, but it is ultimately shewho must take responsibility for the fate of herhypothesis. If this appears too high a standard, thenscience is in stasis.For Popper, science is indeed in stasis – a ‘fallen’state, a closed society, much as the Roman CatholicChurch was when Martin Luther launched whatbecame the Protestant Reformation. This is thespirit in which we should understand Popper’s mostradical follower, Paul Feyerabend, who in the 1970scalled for the devolution of state support for scienceto local authorities and supported the proliferationof such anti-establishment forms of inquiry asCreationism, Deep Ecology and New Age medicine.Feyerabend’s attitude toward science was closer to aProtestant’s than an atheist’s toward Christianity.Unfortunately, in our blinkered times, to be againstthe scientific establishment is to be against scienceitself.110

. CHAPTER 11 .DO WE BELIEVE BY EVIDENCEOR BY DECISION? A VERY SHORTHISTORY OF EPISTEMOLOGYWe do not stumble upon our experiences, nor dowe let them flow over us like a stream. Rather,we have to be active: we have to ‘make’ ourexperiences. It is we who always formulate thequestions to be put to nature; it is we who try againand again to put these questions so as to elicit aclear-cut ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (for nature does not give ananswer unless pressed for it). And in the end, it isagain we who give the answer; it is we ourselveswho, after severe scrutiny, decide upon the answer.Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific DiscoveryExploring an alternative theory by techniques like[trying to see the world through the theory’seyes], one is likely to find that one is already usingit (as one suddenly notes that one is thinking in,not translating out of, a foreign language). At nopoint was one aware of having reached a decision,made a choice. That sort of change is, however,conversion, and the techniques which induce itmay well be described as therapeutic, if only111

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