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Karl Popper, Science and Enlightenment

Could science, if properly understood, provide us with the methodological key to the salvation of humanity? That is a chief question coursing through the works of Karl Popper, who famously maintained that science cannot verify theories but only refute them, thereby bringing about progress. Nicholas Maxwell’s new book disputes this line of argument. By proposing a new conception of scientific methodology on disunified theories—which can be applied to all worthwhile human endeavours with problematic aims—this book calls for a new revolution in inquiry to help humanity advance towards a more civilized and enlightened world. 

390 pages | 6.14 x 9.21 | © 2017

Free digital open access editions are available to download from UCL Press.

Philosophy: General Philosophy

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Table of Contents

"Prologue: An idea to help save the world


1. Karl Raimund Popper

2. Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos and aim-oriented empiricism

3. Einstein, aim-oriented empiricism, and the discovery
of special and general relativity

4. Non-empirical requirements scientific theories must
satisfy: simplicity, unity, explanation, beauty

5. Scientific metaphysics

6. Comprehensibility rather than beauty

7. A mug’s game? Solving the problem of induction with
metaphysical presuppositions

8. Does probabilism solve the great quantum mystery?

9. Science, reason, knowledge and wisdom: a critique of

10. Karl Popper and the Enlightenment Programme"

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