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  • Subject Name : Philosophy of Science

Varieties of Justification

Introduction to Karl Pooper Induction Problem

Karl Pooper is a philosopher of science who sought to solve the problem of induction. The problem of induction refers to a question that is whether the inductive reasoning takes to the understood knowledge of classical philosophical sense (Eckert, 2020). One of the major arguments made by Karl pooper is that there is no usage of induction in science and induction is just a myth. The essay will discuss the method by which Karl Pooper provides a solution to the problem of induction and also the success of that method. With that, the solution will be compared in respect of Welsey’s Salmon paper ‘Rational Prediction’.

Proposal to Solve the Problem of Induction

Karl Pooper most important achievement was to provide a solution to the problem of induction or called as Hume's problem. Pooper's solution to the problem states that no inductive logic is there and also there is no appropriate procedure for inductive and also there is no way that is present by which truth can be demonstrated or provide the probability that is high for the theories. He also stated that the theory that is obtained is in the inductive generalization form is mistaken. Hume stated that it is properly impossible to justify the rational induction, hence to rely on the induction is irrational. In the theory of pooper, the 'proper rational justification' refers to the argument that can be logically verified and is valid, and also all the premises that are stated should be justified. If any of the premises is not justified than the conclusion that will be drawn will remain unjustified (Backmann, 2019). And as per Pooper to draw a rational justification is impossible. Pooper stated that all the evidence for inductive is limited and the universe cannot be observed at all times in all the places. In contrast to inductive theory he gave deductive reasoning that follows the pattern like:

Theory- Hypothesis – Observation – Confirmation

As per Pooper scientific theories should be able to make predictions and can be tested but induction cannot be justified as the end step of induction is again a theory. Pooper gave an example that for thousands of years Europeans observed millions of white swans and by following the evidence from inductive theory, they come up with a theory that all swans are white. However, in later stages, Australian explored black swans. Here Pooper made a point that no matter what observations have been there is always a scope of future exploration that will refute the previous theory. Here Pooper stated that Induction cannot yield conformity.

To the problem of induction, Pooper proposed a theory of falsification. The theory states that no matter how many justifications are there for instant confirmation, the only requirement to refute that claim is one counter-argument. With the progress of science, old theories are proven wrong and new are introduced that helps in explaining the phenomena in a better way. Through this logic (Li & Sui, 2018) Pooper gave a solution to the problem of induction where it depicted a theory that a phenomenon will be true only if there is no statement to counterfeit it. Induction theory has a problem that it does not provide a solution that is confirmed instead it forms a generalized theory based on the repeated phenomena which is refuted by Karl Pooper on the basis that he believed, with the theory of induction, there is always a chance that a counter-argument can be provided and the theory will be refuted. Instead, he gave a deductive approach and also a theory of falsification in return for induction.

Acceptance of Pooper’s Theory

Karl Pooper's theory was, however, a very scientific approach that if a false claim is a maid then induction won't prevail. But with that, the theory was rejected by many. Various scientists have criticized the theory. According to Wesley Salmon for any purpose like for practical purposes or to test the theories, it is required that certain assumptions are made. This means that at point Pooper is required to select a theory from various unfalsified theories that are available. So in the scenario, a well-corroborated theory is to be chosen but here Pooper or the followers of Pooper's theory have to make a choice where they are going to select a theory that has survived the criticism in past and consider it a reliable predictor which will be an inductive approach or there will be no rational motivation or method of selection principle of selecting the falsification theory. So, in the scenario Pooper has to make a choice that will refute its claim of inductive theory.

Also, Thomas Kuhn argued against the falsification theory of Pooper. He stated that whatever is argued is argued through an observation that is based on theory from the past beliefs of theory. One's observation is affected by the theoretical beliefs that are prevailing. So as per this, every person will react differently to the holding theories even when the same phenomena are being observed. Thomas Kuhn said that while working in a paradigm that is provided by classical Newton's mechanism might have a very different observation than with those who are working in the relativistic mechanics (Karl pooper, 2020).

The theory was although accepted widely but with time it was refuted by various scientists. Even on the criteria of falsifiability where it was said by historians that any philosopher working in the field of science will rarely give up the philosophy and that happened only when the prediction is failed. Also, scientists hold on to a theory even when it is falsified to a better theory emerges. So, Karl Pooper's theory was not successful and refuted by scientists on various grounds.

Critical Evaluation Through Welsey Salmon’s Rational Prediction

In the paper author has stated that there are various reasons for which the predictions are made. The very first being that we all are curious about the happenings of the future and to satisfy that predictions are made. Another time when the prediction is made is to test a theory and the third to make a decision that is optimal by predicting the outcomes of the future. Pooper in his statements has suggested that prediction based on inductive motions should not be made. But Salmon here states the rational prediction cannot be made without the inductive motions. For Pooper the knowledge of science involves generalization and the observational tests. Pooper stated that negative instances will help in rejecting the generalization. At this point, Salmon states that there is no basis for a claim that is rational as observation reports all talk about the events that have occurred in the past. He also states that theoretical science provides both predictions and explanations and certain predictions might have practical consequences and others might not have. Salmon also refuted the claim of deductivism as it will not do the justice for the rational prediction. Another point that Pooper has adhered to in his solution to the problem of induction is that of Realism. He has stated that the corroboration statements that are made have no import of predictiveness, then Salmon has refuted it by stating that if this though is to be believed of Pooper than the directive to choose the theory that is corroborated more highly in regards to other theory that are less corroborated will have a predictive import. With this, the rational prediction problem remains unsolved and the corroboration has no element of predictiveness is refuted. Pooper has also stated that from a rational viewpoint best-tested theory should be opted to make a decision. This phenomenon or choosing a theory is based on induction as stated by Salomon. The best-tested theory will be the one whose claims have not been refuted. So, Pooper himself has used induction while giving a solution to the problem of induction (Salmon, 1981).

Thus, Salmon has refuted the rational prediction measure of Pooper at every point and has provided claims that will go against the things that have been depicted by Pooper. Salmon believes that induction is a measure that will be used in science and prediction is done on every instance for making a theory based on the past. So, he has refuted the claims made by Pooper.

Conclusion on Karl Pooper Induction Problem

Karl Pooper is a known philosophical scientist who has given a solution to the problem of induction. Induction is a motion that depicts the future instances based on past movements. Karl pooper has provided a solution to the problem by deductivism where he has stated that if any claim can be made against the theory than it is falsified. He has stated that in science theory there should be no predictiveness. The theory given by Pooper was not a successful one as various scientists refuted it by stating that science is based on predictions and theories are formed from falsified theory. Wesley Salmon has critically analyzed every aspect of Popper's solution to the problem and has refuted the claims that are made by the Karl Pooper.

References for Karl Pooper Induction Problem

Backmann, M. (2019). Varieties of Justification—How (Not) to Solve the Problem of Induction. Acta Analytica34(2), 235-255.

Eckert, L. (2020). Dahlia Porter's Science, Form, and the Problem of Induction in British Romanticism. European Romantic Review31(3), 376-378.

Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2020. Karl Popper: Philosophy of Science. Retrieved from:

Li, W., & Sui, Y. (2018). A computational framework for Karl Popper’s logic of scientific discovery. Science China Information Sciences61(4), 0421

Salmon, W. C. (1981). Rational prediction. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science32(2), 115-125.

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Philosophy Assignment Help

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