In Search of a Better World: Lectures and Essays from Thirty Years
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'I want to begin by declaring that I regard scientific knowledge as the most important kind of knowledge we have', writes Sir Karl Popper in the opening essay of this book, which collects his meditations on the real improvements science has wrought in society, in politics and in the arts in the course of the twentieth century. His subjects range from the beginnings of scientific speculation in classical Greece to the destructive effects of twentieth century totalitarianism, from major figures of the Enlightenment such as Kant and Voltaire to the role of science and self-criticism in the arts. The essays offer striking new insights into the mind of one of the greatest twentieth century philosophers.
situation 166–169; solutions to 66–67, 87; solving 13, 16, 17, 50, 84, 179; theoretical 76; various 84–85 progress 140, 144–145, 224–225, 227; objective 41; scientific 39 proofs 129 propaganda 143, 155, 225 pseudo-scientific method 69, 141–143 psychological world see world 2 psychology 60, 78, 206 public opinion 158, 160; avant-garde 153–154; dangers of 154–155; institutionalized 158–159; political illustrations of 159; and vox populi myth 151–153 publicity, monopolies of 159 quantum
entered the debate. Gödel had studied in Vienna, where logicism was strongly supported, but where the other two movements were also taken very seriously. Gödel’s first major result, a proof of completeness for the restricted functional calculus, was based upon problems formulated by Hilbert and could probably be credited to formalism. His second result was his brilliant proof that established the incompleteness of Principia Mathematica and of the theory of numbers. All three competing schools of
possible for objective thought contents to exist; and by making it possible for us to look upon our thought contents as objects, it became possible for us to criticize them – and so to become critical of ourselves. The discovery of writing was the next step. But the most momentous step was the invention of the book and of the critical competition between books. It is not improbable that Pisistratus intended to establish a kind of state monopoly for Homer, as there had been in the East
spite of the limited information at their disposal, many simple men are often wiser than their governments; and if not wiser, then inspired by better or more generous intentions. (Examples: the readiness of the people of Czechoslovakia to fight, on the eve of Munich; the Hoare–Laval reaction again.) One form of the myth – or perhaps of the philosophy behind the myth – which seems to me of particular interest and importance is the doctrine that truth is manifest. By this I mean the doctrine that,
already produced many bitter words. I could not well avoid telling where I stand. Whilst I do not think it is my task here to defend my position, I wish to analyse the differences of opinion and to find what the parties have in common, for here we can learn what the West believes in. Returning now to our main question, ‘What does the West believe in?’ we can say perhaps that the most important answer of the many correct ones we could give is the following. We hate despotism, suppression and