Tag Archive: Deutsch

The most striking fact of evolution

What I regard as the most important point is not the sheer autonomy and anonymity of the third world, or the admittely very important point that was always owe almost everything to our predecessors and to the tradtion which they created: that we thus owe to the third world especially our rationality — that is, our subjective mind, the practice of critical and self-critical ways of thinking and the corresponding dispositions. More important than all this, I suggest, is the relation between ourselves and our work, and what can be gained for us from this relation.

[…] I suggest that everything depends upon the give-and-take between ourselves and our work; upon the product which we contribute to the third world, and upon that constant feed-back that can be amplified by conscious self-criticism. The incredible thing about life, evolution, and mental growth, is just this method of give-and-take, this inter­action between our actions and their results by which we constantly transcend ourselves, our talents, our gifts.

This self-transcendence is the most striking and important fact of all life and all evolution, and especially of human evolution. [147]

All life is conjecturing

We can view truth as the outcome of attempts to generalise this insight: as organisms we conjecture our environment all the time in order to cope with it, to act. Some of the time we fail, we are surprised. We conclude that the environment was not the way we conjectured it to be. If it was not the way we conjectured it to be, then it was some other way. We need no assumption of final or complete truth.[229]

No logic of scientific discovery?

Popper conceded that there was no formal way to characterise a statement or a system of statements as scientific. He thus vacated any hopes raised by the linguistic turn, and he seems to have seen clearly that science had to be looked at institutionally, and that it was in the methodological institutions that the connection beween science and experience would be found. After all, elsewhere he argued clearly that there was no logic of discovery: scientifically respectable statements came with no mark upon them (such as being free of metaphysics). Rather, a statement was checked by what scientists did to it, how they tested it. Testing is a procedure, a social practice. [83-4]

Moving on

Established mainstream philosophy of science and of society tries to give the impression that it has absorbed what is of value in Popper and moved on. Thus he and his followers are somehow out of step, possibly even outmoded. [23]