Philosophy Study Group (Session 1)

Curt Hillstrom
Monday, February 19, 2018 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Curran's Restaurant, 42nd and Nicollet, Minneapolis


We will be reading chapter 8 of The Logic of Scientific Discovery by Karl Popper. This chapter goes into the details of his attempts to define what is meant by probability as it is used in science. It is a long chapter and includes some mathematics. Knowing that there are some who would prefer not to tackle this, we are offering an alternative: another reading – of your choice – related to the book. This means that it should cover the same topics Popper seems most concerned about here.

In general, these are: induction – a problem first raised by Hume and which Popper claims to have solved, at least with respect to science; demarcation – how do you distinguish science from non-science, pseudo-science, and metaphysics; scientific method – is there one, and if so, what is it; and verification/falsification – how do scientists justify their conclusions, the main theme of the book.

As usual the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and Wikipedia have numerous entries on these topics, and more articles can be found elsewhere. Here are some suggestions:

Interpretations of Probability
Karl Popper (a general article on the SEP)
Karl Popper: Philosophy of Science (a general article on the IEP)
Karl Popper (a general article on Wikipedia)
The Problem of Induction
Confirmation and Induction
Confirmation
Demarcation Problem
Science and Pseudo-science
Simplicity in the Philosophy of Science
Scientific Method
Science as Falsification (from a talk by Popper)
Falsifiability
Falsification (from a talk by David Miller, a supporter of Popper)

When you get done reading all these you will be so ready to read chapter 8 that the excitement will keep you from doing anything else.