Popper and After

Popper And After

Popper and After: Four Modern Irrationalists is a book by David Charles Stove first published by Pergamon Press in 1982. It has since been reprinted as Anything Goes: Origins of the Cult of Scientific Irrationalism and Scientific Irrationalism: Origins of a Postmodern Cult.

Stove concisely explains both the aim of this book and its structure in the first part of a very short preface:

This book is about a recent tendency in the philosophy of science: that tendency of which the leading representatives are Professor Sir Karl Popper, the late Professor Imre Lakatos, and Professors T.S.Kuhn and P.K.Feyerabend.

These authors' philosophy of science is in substance irrationalist. They doubt, or deny outright, that there can be any reason to believe any scientific theory; and a fortiori they doubt or deny, for example, that there has been any accumulation of knowledge in recent centuries.

Yet, these writers are not at all widely recognized by their readers as being irrationalists.

It is from these two facts that the question arises to which Part One of this book is addressed: namely, how have these writers succeeded in making irrationalism about science acceptable to readers, most of whom would reject it out of hand if it were presented to them without disguise?

Part Two of the book is addressed to the question: what intellectual influence led these writers themselves to embrace irrationalism about science?

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Famous quotes containing the words and after and/or popper:

    We look before and after,
    And pine for what is not:
    Our sincerest laughter
    With some pain is fraught;
    Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

    It is clear that everybody interested in science must be interested in world 3 objects. A physical scientist, to start with, may be interested mainly in world 1 objects—say crystals and X-rays. But very soon he must realize how much depends on our interpretation of the facts, that is, on our theories, and so on world 3 objects. Similarly, a historian of science, or a philosopher interested in science must be largely a student of world 3 objects.
    —Karl Popper (1902–1994)