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The Logic of Scientific Discovery [Paperback]

Karl Raimund Popper
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)


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Book Description

October 8, 1992 041507892X 978-0415078924 Reprint
Described 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.


Editorial Reviews

Review

'One of the most important documents of the twentieth century.' – Peter Medawar, New Scientist

Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; Reprint edition (October 8, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 041507892X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415078924
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #416,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
220 of 227 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking work in scientific epistemology March 14, 2001
Format:Paperback
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.
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135 of 139 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars old but still outstanding book November 27, 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is Popper's early masterpiece, which still deserves to be thoroughly read. Thesis of the book: theories are guesses which have no secure basis and can be at any time overthrown, but which must be able to stick out their necks and face experimental tests. If they pass the tests, this does not make them any more secure or reliable than they were before.
Its first chapter explains two fundamental problems which will be grappled with in the following chapters: the problem of induction and the problem of demarcation (between science and non-science). The solution to the first problem is straightforward: there is no such thing as induction. If you want to learn more on Popper's formulation and purported solution of this problem, you should read the whole book.

The second chapter gives some methodological rules which, though presented as conventions, are set down in order to combat "conventionalism", the attempt to regard theories as irrefutable, as true by convention.

The third chapter, a bit boring, is an analysis of causality, scientific explanation, the kinds of scientific concepts and the structure of theories (these are considered interpreted axiomatic systems).
The fourth chapter deals with the notion of falsifiability, something theories must have in order to be scientific according to Popper's criterion of demarcation. Falsifiability, as here defined, is (roughly) incompatibility with at least one singular statement reporting the existence of an observable event (the distinction between occurrences and events will be found here; it was previously drawn by Bertrand Russell, I may add).

The fifth chapter deals with these last kind of statements (basic statements): their form, their content and their role in science.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking work in scientific epistemology March 14, 2001
Format:Paperback
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.
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic for History of Science
Even if viewpoint is perhaps dated, this classic has lasting value, still reads well, and is generally accessible. Read more
Published 2 months ago by William James McMurphy
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential book for anybody into science
Item arrived on time and in new condition. I'm still looking forward to reading it, as I've had a pretty tall stack of books in line before it, but I'm familiar with Popper and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Byff
5.0 out of 5 stars Audible version please?
I sit in a car for 3 hours a day - I would like to read this book but have no time - I could listen to it though if you got it on audible.com

thanks!
Published 5 months ago by Yetanotherguy
5.0 out of 5 stars A very rare book
This is a very rare book from the master of logic. Eventhough reading this book is not the easiest task, it is so thought provoking and informative that i feel very lucky to have a... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Kyriakos Varveris
3.0 out of 5 stars Typos in sample chapter
A work of genius ruined by typos. If you're going to charge 18 dollars for this could you at least spellcheck it first?
Published 7 months ago by Kevin O'Connor
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a marvellous exposition!
This is an absolute classic, a masterpiece of clear thinking around the nature of scientific proof. The only problem I had with this edition was some really annoying typography -... Read more
Published 7 months ago by PJD Lloyd
4.0 out of 5 stars tough read
Good things take time, and this book takes time, but it is well written and very logical. If only scientists actually followed this more.
Published 10 months ago by Bryce Keeney
5.0 out of 5 stars E-Book version looks terrible to me.
The formatting on the kindle edition of this book is terrible! I don't understand why publishers get so lazy about the appearance of their E Books. Read more
Published 17 months ago by the silent cellist
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most essential scientific reads
A must-read for those interested in scientific thought and understanding.
For anyone starting a career in science, you should know who Karl Popper is and his scientific... Read more
Published 18 months ago by sratchf2
3.0 out of 5 stars Hyperlinks don't work right
This is a great book and icon such literature but there are a lot of notes that add a lot to the book but the hyperlink only links to the notes, not back to the text so you can get... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Merril Burke
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