Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Husserl (1859-1938) and Popper (1902-1992)

Husserl's last work was "The crisis in the European sciences and transcendental phenomenology", based on lectures he gave in Prague in 1935. I notice a part headed "the verificational character of natural science's fundamental hypothesis." In 1934 Karl Popper's second, and most famous, work was published in Vienna, called "Logik der Forschung" ("the logic of scientific discovery"). In this book, Popper expounds his disagreement with the Vienna Circle in their attempts to render philosophy scientific and free of metaphysics, and simultaneously proposes a criterion for the demarcation between science and non-science, on the basis that conjecture and refutation, and not induction and verification, characterise science. Both these thinkers were responding to a contemporary crisis in the sciences. Popper gave a Kantian metaphysical underpinning to a philosophy of science, where the positivists sought to banish metaphysics from philosophy. I am sure someone has made a link between these two thinkers with their shared concern with science and it's relation to the humanities, and the ramifications of Godel's theorem and Einstein's theory of special and general relativity, which placed the observer in the world?

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