Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Talk at Bogazici: Mehmet Elgin (Mugla) on “What is Science? Popper and Evolutionary Theory” (26/11/2012)

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Mehmet Elgin (Mugla) will give a talk on Monday 26/11/2012 at Bogazici University, from 5-7pm in TB130.

“What is Science? Popper and Evolutionary Theory”

ABSTRACT: Karl R. Popper notoriously claimed that “I have come to the conclusion that Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research programme – a possible framework for testable scientific theories” (Popper, Unended Quest, p. 195). He later claimed that “The theory of natural selection may be so formulated that it is far from tautological. In this case it is not only testable, but it turns out to be not strictly universally true” Popper (1978), “Natural Selection and the Emergence of Mind”, Dialectica, p. 345-346. When Popper claimed that evolutionary theory is a metaphysical research program, he was relying on an a priori philosophical principle about scientific methodology. When he changed his mind, he was reformulating a scientific principle in a way that it would satisfy the conditions of to be scientific proposed by him on a priori grounds. Thus, Popper was judging the status of empirical science on the basis of a priori philosophical intuitions concerning scientific methodology that did not take scientific practice seriously. I find this approach quite problematic and I propose to show why such a strategy of doing philosophy of science hinders our understanding of science by focusing on the role and the function of the Hardy-Weinberg Law in population genetics.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

November 18, 2012 at 9:14 pm

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