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I think it a bit unfair to Popper's contribution to the philosophy of science
to refer to him as a logician. I think the most accurate branch of philosophy
if one must classify, would be epistemology, how we know what we know. Indeed,
he was concerned with the logical underpinnings of scientific knowledge and in
examining the logical structure of scientific hypotheses was able to refute
the old inductivist view without requiring a knowledge of first principles
from which to deduce knowledge as the logical positivists did. In Mr.
Bergquist's own words, "Well-reasoned argument is what cuts ice". I think what
Popper was able to do was to show why science is rational, what is the
underlying structure of scientific knowledge, and how one can distinguish
between scientific hypotheses and non-science. This does not necessarily
explain how scientists operate. One can insist that scientific hypotheses be
falsifiable in principle without insisting on a naive falsificationism. I
think Lakatos's work builds on Popper's rather than overturning it. No
hypothesis is ever absolutely falsified because the statements that test it
are themselves subject to refutation, hypotheses in a context of hypotheses.
But so long as we accept them, they can contradict a hypothesis and lead to its
rejection. On a related subject, I find the distinctions among hypotheses,
theories, etc. to be relatively unhelpful and needlessly prejudicial in
discussing scientific statements. I prefer to regard all statements in science
as hypotheses (for want of a better word) at varying levels of generality.
Even statements of observation (the data) are low-level hypotheses imbedded in
a context of hypotheses, and all are connected by deductive logic. I think all
of this including the practical fuzziness explains how or why science works.
I think that how science is conducted, however, is another matter altogether.
In my opinion, Kuhn's work deals mainly with the history and psychology of
science, how scientists actually work and how this affects the progress of
George F. Engelmann