Karl Popper Falsification

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Karl Popper, as part of his career long attempt to support empiricism in science, proposed a doctrine of falsification. This directly contrasts verification, a central theme to logical positivism. A claim is empirically verifiable if observation and experimentation produce statements which logically imply the truth of the claim. Popper rejected the logical empiricists' ideas given that “verificationism” does not allow for claims within a universal scope to be subject to verification.1 This is because there are so many permutations of approaches to verifying something claimed by science. Opposite to this, a universal claim can be falsified by a single negative instance.1 For example, by observing one red minivan, the claim "all minivans are …show more content…
Aside from that, Popper's main objection was that one could not test all proposed predictions of a theory, and even if that was possible, the more confirmations or rejection that arise from empirical experimentation are not definitive and prone to bias. This model allows the scientists more of an opportunity to look for predictions that will be confirmed in an effort to support a desired outcome. Popper's solution is to select predictions that are least likely to be confirmed, and then attempt to falsify a theory. Failure to falsify a theory serves as endorsement of the theory.3
Since law claims can be falsified but not verified, Popper concluded that the way to truth is indirect, by elimination of falsehood. This allows for science to produce errors and mistakes, certainly not a negative thing in the eyes of every true scientist. Popper and the scientific community of all eras would argue that it is necessary to find falsifying evidence in order to more efficiently progress in the field.
With all this said, a frequent criticism of this doctrine claims that the assertion that Popper is making cannot itself be subjected to falsification. This renders the need for it to be applied to suggested scientific theories as hypocritical and invalid. However, from the conception of the doctrine, through the evolution that
…show more content…
Often times, when Popper is being supported or explained, a simple example such as the red and blue minivans is used to illustrate how falsificationism works and how it is more efficient than methods associated with verificationism. While this is true for examples where one single object is being observed and critiqued, such as one minivan possessing one color, it is apparent that this analogy does not hold up well with examples that are much more complicated. To put Popper’s doctrine to the test, one must not think theoretically about how a claim is subject to falsification, but instead apply modern theories and analyze the power of the doctrine. When this is done, the true weakness of his assertions are revealed. To demonstrate this with an example, I will make the claim that global warming and the associated theories are in fact not falsifiable. This is an appropriate example because (at least within the scientific minded community), this is a well-known and respected field of study with very conclusive evidence. However, unlike the minivan example, climate science has significantly more layers that simply cannot be falsified by determining a single counter claim. One would need to find a way to present falsifying evidence for every possible weather pattern that may contribute to the

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