Author Archives: Alan Forrester

Epistemology and the laws of physics

I’ve written a paper that uses evolutionary epistemology to solve a problem in the foundations of physics: explaining the second law of thermodynamics.

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Scientism vs Liberalism

In his book, “The Counter-Revolution of Science”, Hayek argued against scientism – attempts by the social sciences to ape the methods of the natural sciences by ignoring the subjectivity of economic value. I will apply these ideas to criticise of some current ideas that the government should use force to make people happier. Continue reading

Posted in epistemology, ethics, open society | 10 Comments

Howson on Deutsch

In Chapter 7 of his book The Fabric of Reality, David Deutsch has a dialogue in which he discusses critical rationalism with a crypto-inductivist, a philosopher who thinks there is an induction shaped hole in his worldview although he agrees … Continue reading

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Utopianism, Libertarianism and Other Political Theories

In Chapter 9 of Volume 1 of The Open Society and Its Enemies, Popper argues against utopianism. I have heard many people say that libertarianism is utopian. For example, in this series of videos the speaker often states or implies … Continue reading

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Popper on Schools and Universities

It has been said, only too truly, that Plato was the inventor of both our secondary schools and our universities. I do not know a better argument for the optimistic view of mankind than the fact that this devastating system of education has not utterly ruined them. Continue reading

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Who Should Decide?

Popper points out that it is difficult to find a government on whose goodness and wisdom we can rely and so that we should set up our institutions to allow us to prevent bad government from doing too much damage. Many people seem unaware of this argument and its implications for political and moral philosophy. Continue reading

Posted in ethics, open society | 4 Comments

The Myth of the Framework

The Myth of the Framework is an essay Popper wrote that was published in the book of the same title. The point of the essay is that relativists tend to set excessively high standards for making progress. I would add that this is not just a problem for relativists: it is is a very widespread and extremely damaging obstacle to intellectual and moral progress. Continue reading

Posted in epistemology, ethics | 30 Comments

Optimism vs Faith

In the debate between those who think the human species is doomed due to this or that environmental problem and those who are more optimistic, one often gets the impression from pessimistic environmentalists that optimism is motivated solely by faith. In … Continue reading

Posted in historicism, open society | 30 Comments

Disagreement vs. Justificationism

Justificationists often complain that Popper’s philosophy doesn’t enable us to pick out one scientific theory as being decisively the best at any particular time. But there is something extremely odd about this objection. Critical rationalists advocate various restrictions on what … Continue reading

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Stanford Encylopedia Criticisms

This is a follow up to Rafe’s post The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy vs Karl Popper in which I reply to the Encyclopedia’s criticism of Popper’s position. Continue reading

Posted in epistemology, science | 5 Comments