Skip to main content
Select Source:

Popper, Sir Karl Raimund

Sir Karl Raimund Popper, 1902–94, Anglo-Austrian philosopher, b. Vienna. He became familiar with the Vienna circle of logical positivists (see logical positivism) while a student at the Univ. of Vienna (Ph.D., 1928). He taught at Canterbury Univ., New Zealand (1937–45), and then at the London School of Economics, retiring in 1969. Popper's thought develops from his view of knowing as an individual, unpredictable act of genius, not acquired by induction, as empiricists hold, nor limited to verifiable statements, as the logical positivists hold. Like the logical positivists, Popper worked with the distinction between scientific knowledge and pseudoscience, but he understood the two to be related as well as distinct: pseudoscience or "myth," as he sometimes termed it, can inspire or grow into science, or overlap with it (as in the case of psychology). He rejected the certainty of knowledge, whether secured on empiricist or rationalist ground.

Popper also questioned historicism (the doctrine that there are general laws of history) because history, as he saw it, is influenced by the growth of knowledge, and, since knowing is a matter of unpredictable insight, neither the growth of knowledge nor its historical consequences can be systematized. In the political arena he was perhaps best known for his contention, set forth in The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945), that communism and fascism were philosophically linked, and his works, along with those of Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, provided the theoretical underpinnings for the conservative program of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Popper was knighted in 1965. His other works include The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1935), The Poverty of Historicism (1957), Objective Knowledge: An Evolutionary Approach (1972), The Self and Its Brain (rev. ed. 1978), and Postscript to the Logic of Scientific Discovery (3 vol., 1981–82).

See studies by I. C. Jarvie (1972), B. Magee (1973), W. Berkson and J. Wetterman (1984), N. DeMarchi (1988), and M. H. Hacohen (2000).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Popper, Sir Karl Raimund." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Popper, Sir Karl Raimund." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/popper-sir-karl-raimund

"Popper, Sir Karl Raimund." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/popper-sir-karl-raimund

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Popper, Sir Karl Raimund

Popper, Sir Karl Raimund (1902–94) British philosopher of natural and social sciences, b. Austria. He proposed his theory of falsification in The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1934), saying scientific ‘truth’ cannot be absolutely confirmed. In The Open Society and its Enemies (1945), Popper attacked the historicism of Marxism.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Popper, Sir Karl Raimund." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Popper, Sir Karl Raimund." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/popper-sir-karl-raimund

"Popper, Sir Karl Raimund." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved February 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/popper-sir-karl-raimund

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.