## The Logic of Scientific DiscoveryDescribed by the philosopher A.J. Ayer as a work of 'great originality and power', this book revolutionized contemporary thinking on science and knowledge. Ideas such as the now legendary doctrine of 'falsificationism' electrified the scientific community, influencing even working scientists, as well as post-war philosophy. This astonishing work ranks alongside The Open Society and Its Enemies as one of Popper's most enduring books and contains insights and arguments that demand to be read to this day. |

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Review by Greg Nyquist

This is the book where Popper first introduced his famous "solution" to the problem of induction. Originally publish in German in 1934, this version is Popper's own English translation undertaken in the 1950s. It should go without saying that the book is a classic in philosophic epistemology--perhaps the most important such work to appear since Hume's "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding." Popper argues that scientific theories can never be proven, merely tested and corroborated. Scientific inquiry is distinguished from all other types of investigation by its testability, or, as Popper put, by the falsifiability of its theories. Unfalsifiable theories are unscientific precisely because they cannot be tested.

Popper has always been known for his straightforward, lucid writing style. There are no books on epistemology that are as easy to read and understand than Popper's. Nonetheless, of all Popper's books, "Logic of Scientific Discovery" is easily the most difficult. I don't know whether it is because it was his first book or because it was originally written in German or because of all the technical problems in probability and quantum theory that are dealt within its pages. Whatever the reason, this book, despite its tremendous importance, cannot be recommended to those seeking an introduction to Popper's thinking (and Popper, whether you agree with his conclusions or not, is well worth getting to know). For those who merely want a rough overview of Popper's opinions, perhaps the best book is "Popper Selections," edited by David Miller. For those eager for more depth, I would recommend "Realism and the Aim of Science." Popper no where makes a better case for his epistemological views than in this eminently readable book. Further elaborations of Popper's views can be read in "Conjectures and Refutations" and "Objective Knowledge."

Popper has been severely attacked by philosophers who are offended by his bold fallibilism and anti-dogmatism. No philosopher attacked Popper more strenuously than David Stove. Stove's criticisms are interesting, but they are not as conclusive as one disparaging critic has suggested. Stove makes three main arguments against Popper: (1) Popper theories are bad because they lead to the epistemological relativism of Kuhn, Lakatos, and Feyerabend; (2) Popper's dismissal of induction is contrary to common sense and is therefore "irrational"; and (3) Popper's argument on behalf of "conjectural knowledge" is fallacious because the phrase "conjectural knowledge" is a contradiction in terms. All three of these arguments are logically fallacious. The first commits the fallacy of "argument ad consequentiam," which tries to refute the truth of a doctrine by associating it to its (alleged) consequences. This is, in a way, a sort of guilt by association argument. The second argument simply assumes the very point at issue. No where in his book on Popper does Stove attempt to prove that induction is rational. He simply assumes it is and denounces Popper on the basis of this gratuitous assumption. The last argument is merely verbal and proves only that Popper has violated common linguistic usage. But why should we assume that linguistic usage must always be philosophically right? Stove also makes a great fuss about Popper's assertion that a "falsifiability" is preferable to "irrefutability." Stove assumes that this is palpably absurd. How can a theory that is falsifiable possibly be better than one that is irrefutable? But Stove appears to have missed the whole point of Popper's theory. Falsifiability merely means "testability." Irrefutable, on the other hand, means simply "untestable." When looked at in this line, Popper's theory no longer seems so absurd. In fact, it is merely a great leap forward in the fight against dogmatism and close-mindedness.

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#### Review: The Logic of Scientific Discovery

User Review - John Peralta - GoodreadsKarl Popper is a leading philosopher of science. In this book he introduced the concept of falsifiability. Put simply, no theory can be considered a scientific theory unless it can be scrutinized ... Read full review

### Contents

Causality Explanation and the Deduction of Predictions | 12 |

Strict and Numerical Universality | 13 |

Universal Concepts and Individual Concepts | 14 |

Strictly Universal and Existential Statements | 15 |

Theoretical Systems | 16 |

On the Problem of a Theory of Scientific Method | 27 |

Logical Ranges Notes on the Theory of Measurement | 37 |

Some Possibilities of Interpreting a System of Axioms | 51 |

Infinite Sequences Hypothetical Estimates of Frequency | 154 |

An Examination of the Axiom of Randomness | 159 |

ChanceLike Sequences Objective Probability | 163 |

6o Bernoullis Problem | 164 |

The Law of Great Numbers Bernoullis Theorem | 168 |

Bernoullis Theorem and the Interpretation of Probability Statements | 171 |

of the Fundamental Problem of the Theory of Chance | 176 |

The Problem of Decidability | 181 |

Levels of Universality The Modus Tollens | 54 |

Falsifiability | 57 |

2O Methodological Rules | 61 |

Logical Investigation of Falsifiability 22 Falsifiability and Falsification | 66 |

Occurrences and Events | 68 |

Falsifiability and Consistency | 72 |

The Problem of the Empirical Basis | 74 |

Concerning the SoCalled Protocol Sentences | 76 |

The Objectivity of the Empirical Basis | 79 |

Basic Statements | 82 |

The Relativity of Basic Statements Resolution | 86 |

Friess Trilemma | 87 |

3o Theory and Experiment | 88 |

Degrees of Testability | 95 |

How are Classes of Potential Falsifiers to be Compared? | 97 |

Degrees of Falsifiability Compared by Means of the Subclass Relation | 98 |

The Structure of the Subclass Relation Logical Probability | 100 |

Empirical Content Entailment and Degrees of Falsifiability | 103 |

Levels of Universality and Degrees of Precision | 105 |

Degrees of Testability Compared by Reference to Dimensions | 110 |

The Dimension of a Set of Curves | 115 |

Two Ways of Reducing the Number of Dimensions of a Set of Curves | 116 |

Simplicity | 121 |

Elimination of the Aesthetic and the Pragmatic Concepts of Simplicity 42 The Methodological Problem of Simplicity | 122 |

Simplicity and Degree of Falsifiability | 126 |

Geometrical Shape and Functional Form | 128 |

The Simplicity of Euclidean Geometry | 129 |

Probability | 133 |

The Problem of Interpreting Probability Statements | 134 |

Subjective and Objective Interpretations | 135 |

The Fundamental Problem of the Theory of Chance | 138 |

The Frequency Theory of von Mises | 139 |

Plan for a New Theory of Probability | 141 |

Relative Frequency within a Finite Class | 143 |

Selection Independence Insensitiveness Irrelevance | 145 |

Finite Sequences Ordinal Selection and Neighbourhood Selection | 147 |

nFreedom in Finite Sequences | 148 |

Sequences of Segments The First Form of the Binomial Formula | 152 |

The Logical Form of Probability Statements | 183 |

A Probabilistic System of Speculative Metaphysics | 188 |

Probability in Physics | 190 |

Law and Chance | 198 |

The Deducibility of Macro Laws from Micro Laws | 200 |

Formally Singular Probability Statements | 202 |

The Theory of Range | 204 |

Some Observations on Quantum Theory | 209 |

Heisenbergs Programme and the Uncertainty Relations 74 A Brief Outline of the Statistical Interpretation of Quantum Theory | 211 |

A Statistical ReInterpretation of the Uncertainty Formulae | 218 |

An Attempt to Eliminate Metaphysical Elements by Inverting Heisenbergs Programme with Applications | 224 |

Decisive Experiments | 232 |

Indeterminist Metaphysics | 243 |

Corroboration or How a Theory Stands up to Tests | 248 |

Concerning the SoCalled Verification of Hypotheses | 249 |

Criticism of Probability Logic | 252 |

Inductive Logic and Probability Logic | 261 |

How a Hypothesis may Prove its Mettle | 264 |

Corroborability Testability and Logical Probability | 268 |

Remarks Concerning the Use of the Concepts True and Corroborated | 273 |

The Path of Science | 276 |

APPENDICES | 281 |

Definition of the Dimension of a Theory | 283 |

The General Calculus of Frequency in Finite Classes | 286 |

Formula | 290 |

Examination of an Objection The TwoSlit | 297 |

Remarks Concerning an Imaginary Experiment | 305 |

i Two Notes on Induction and Demarcation | 312 |

ii A Note on Probability 1938 | 319 |

iii On the Heuristic Use of the Classical Definition | 325 |

vii Zero Probability and the FineStructure | 374 |

viii Content Simplicity and Dimension | 392 |

Statistical Tests | 402 |

x Universals Dispositions and Natural | 440 |

xi On the Use and Misuse of Imaginary | 464 |

xii The Experiment of Einstein Podolsky and Rosen | 481 |

489 | |