You are Here: Home

# Popper and Induction

Announcements Posted on
1. Hi just a quick one that has been bugging me.

I know that inductive reasoning is not all that solid even in strong form. I think it was David Hume who first objected to induction? Is that right?

So when Popper proposed his criteria of falsifiability to solve the demarcation problem, was this his attempt to bypass the inductive method in scientific reasoning also?

Inductive reasoning would say:

All swans ever observed by science have been white

So

It is a general law that all swans are white

Popper would say:

We can try and falsify that theory by looking for more swans and observing their color, but we must deny such a general law exists, rather it is rather to be considered our best guess, until such time as we find a non-white swan and it is falsified.

So this gets around having to rely on induction, and we must live with doubt about our general laws?

But the problem is that even innocuous observations such as observing the colour of swans, are theory laden and so products of other processes of induction? Is this right?
2. (Original post by snozzle)
Hi just a quick one that has been bugging me.

I know that inductive reasoning is not all that solid even in strong form. I think it was David Hume who first objected to induction? Is that right?

So when Popper proposed his criteria of falsifiability to solve the demarcation problem, was this his attempt to bypass the inductive method in scientific reasoning also?

Inductive reasoning would say:

All swans ever observed by science have been white

So

It is a general law that all swans are white

Popper would say:

We can try and falsify that theory by looking for more swans and observing their color, but we must deny such a general law exists, rather it is rather to be considered our best guess, until such time as we find a non-white swan and it is falsified.

So this gets around having to rely on induction, and we must live with doubt about our general laws?

But the problem is that even innocuous observations such as observing the colour of swans, are theory laden and so products of other processes of induction? Is this right?
Popper's falsificationism was an attempt to show how science wasn't really inductive at all, yes. It has various failings and is pretty unanimously rejected nowadays, though.

## Register

Thanks for posting! You just need to create an account in order to submit the post
1. this can't be left blank
2. this can't be left blank
3. this can't be left blank

6 characters or longer with both numbers and letters is safer

4. this can't be left empty
1. Oops, you need to agree to our Ts&Cs to register

Updated: April 5, 2012
TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

This forum is supported by:
Today on TSR

### How to predict exam questions

No crystal ball required

Poll
Useful resources

## Articles:

Debate and current affairs forum guidelines