Popper, Karl


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Karl Popper (1902- 1994) can be considered one of the most influential and important philosophers of science in the 20th Century. Popper was born in Vienna and his early career was highly influenced by the rise of Nazism in Germany and Austria. This greatly influenced his politics, his philosophy and some major aspects of his life.
In 1928 Popper gained his doctorate in Psychology and from 1929 began teaching mathematics and physics to secondary school students. Soon after, he began to write what was later to become: ‘The Logic of Scientific Discovery’. This publication was very important for Popper. Not only did it become a landmark text in the Philosophy of Science, but it was this publication which allowed him to be accepted in academic circles in other countries away from the rise of Nazism. On the back of this he emigrated to New Zealand in 1937 and in 1946, after the Second World War, Popper left for Britain. In Britain Popper worked at the University of London and the London School of Economics.
Popper’s works, including The Logic of Scientific Discovery’, largely criticise inducitonism and logical positivism. Popper argues that in order to conduct scientific research, the aim of the research should be to falsify the hypothesis. He says that only hypothesis which clash with observation can be considered scientific. This is the principle of falsification. Overall, Popper was critical of ‘facts’ and certain methods adopted by science.
In light of this, he was critical of Psychoanalysis and the work of Freud and Adler. Popper argued that as there is no means of falsifying Psychoanalysis it cannot be considered scientific. Popper was also critical of Marxism, despite identifying as a communist for a short time when he was young.