The Use and Abuse of Sir Karl Popper

  title={The Use and Abuse of Sir Karl Popper},
  author={David L. Hull},
  journal={Biology and Philosophy},
  • D. Hull
  • Published 1 October 1999
  • Biology
  • Biology and Philosophy
Karl Popper has been one of the few philosophers of sciences who has influenced scientists. I evaluate Popper's influence on our understanding of evolutionary theory from his earliest publications to the present. Popper concluded that three sorts of statements in evolutionary biology are not genuine laws of nature. I take him to be right on this score. Popper's later distinction between evolutionary theory as a metaphysical research program and as a scientific theory led more than one scientist… 

Popper’s Shifting Appraisal of Evolutionary Theory

  • M. ElginE. Sober
  • Philosophy
    HOPOS: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science
  • 2017
Karl Popper argued in 1974 that evolutionary theory contains no testable laws and is therefore a metaphysical research program. Four years later, he said that he had changed his mind. Here we seek to

Karl Popper and Lamarckism

Karl Popper’s writings provided a new context for the discussion of Lamarckism in the 1970s and 1980s, thus making it “scientifically acceptable” again.

Popper's Darwinian Analogy

  • Bence Nanay
  • Philosophy, Psychology
    Perspectives on Science
  • 2011
It is argued that until the 1960s, Popper used the Darwinian process as a model for understanding the growth of scientific knowledge, whereas from the1960s on, the explanatory order was reversed and this led him to make somewhat surprising claims about the nature of selection as well as to flirt with Lamarckism.

Popper, Laws, and the Exclusion of Biology from Genuine Science

It is suggested that a cluster class epistemic values approach (which subsumes empirical falsifiability) is the best solution to the demarcation problem between genuine science and pseudo- or non-science.

Popper as a process: revisiting the appropriation of the Popperian philosophy by the cladists during the “systematics wars”

The philosophy of Karl Popper was strongly used by the cladists in their battle against evolutionary and numerical taxonomy. It became known as “Systematics Wars” by David Hull. His historical

Matters of Demarcation: Philosophy, Biology, and the Evolving Fraternity between Disciplines

The influence that philosophy of science has had on scientific practice is as controversial as it is undeniable, especially in the case of biology. The dynamic between philosophy and biology as

Philosophical Perspectives on Evolutionary Theory: A Sketch of the History

Discussion of Darwinian evolutionary theory by philosophers has gone through a number of historical phases, from indifference (in the first hundred years), to criticism (in the 1960s and 70s), to

Kuhn’s Way

This review of the posthumous collection of essays by Thomas S. Kuhn will take the form of a personal obituary. I attempt to offer some background to his scholarly career, find a coherent story in

Kuhn’s Way:

The histories of Kuhn are above average, as he did not conceal controversy and error. Regrettably, he played them down. Unfortunately, he viewed dissent increasingly as verbal variance, considering

The Professionalization of Science Studies: Cutting Some Slack

During the past hundred years or so, those scholars studying science have isolated themselves as much as possible from scientists as well as from workers in other disciplines who study science. The



Putting Philosophy to Work: Karl Popper's Influence on Scientific Practice

‘I think Popper is incomparably the greatest philosopher of science that has ever been’, writes Sir Peter Medawar, winner of the Nobel Prize for medicine and himself an experienced analyst of

The Logic of Scientific Discovery.

Each of these stages of a research project are evaluated to clarify the sources of ambiguities and uncertainties and suggestions are offered for reducing errors and speeding scientific progress.

The Poverty of Historicism

On its publication in 1957, The Poverty of Historicism was hailed by Arthur Koestler as 'probably the only book published this year which will outlive the century.' A devastating criticism of fixed

A mechanism and its metaphysics: An evolutionary account of the social and conceptual development of science

The claim that conceptual systems change is a platitude. That our conceptual systems are theory-laden is no less platitudinous. Given evolutionary theory, biologists are led to divide up the living

Sociocultural evolutionism: An untried theory†

The author argues that sociocultural evolutionism has never been an evolutionary theory in the sense in which that model is employed in the life sciences, but that instead it sought natural

Science as a Process: An Evolutionary Account of the Social and Conceptual Development of Science, David L. Hull. 1988. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 608 pages. ISBN: 0-226-35060-4. $39.95

"Legend is overdue for replacement, and an adequate replacement must attend to the process of science as carefully as Hull has done. I share his vision of a serious account of the social and

In Search of a Better World Lectures and Essays from Thirty years By Karl Popper. Routledge: London & New York 245pp.

The remainder of the book is devoted to a criticism of the consequenj tialist thesis that legitimate reasons for action are reasons for anyone I (agent-neutral ones) and not just for a particular

A World of Propensities

  • K. Popper
  • Philosophy
    Popper's Views on Natural and Social Science
  • 1993
This book contains two lectures - given in 1988 and 1989 respectively - which belong to Karl Popper's late work, most of which is still unpublished. The first introduces a new view of causality,

Individuality and Selection

Evolutionary theory is currently undergoing a period of rapid development, but in the process several problems have cropped up that are proving to be infuriatingly difficult to resolve-e.g. the

The Propensity Interpretation of Fitness

A propensity interpretation of fitness is provided, which is argued captures the intended reference of this term as it is used by evolutionary theorists, and a definition of natural selection is provided which handles all the types of selection discussed by biologists, thus improving on extant definitions.