popper-kuhn-debate
The Popper-Kuhn debate refers to a meeting (organized by Imre Lakatos and others) that took place at the former Bedford College, University of London in 13 July 1965. A meeting of a just arrived genial theorist of science (Kuhn, 43) with a remarkable selfmade 'leaving' theorist of science (Popper, 63).
Both Popper and Kuhn were traditional scientists, closely connected to 'the elite'. Popper believed in the existence of 1 gradually growing continuous normal science that has to be cultivated, and in absolute 'good and wrong' (dualism). Kuhn saw 'truth' as cultural and historical.

popper-kuhn-debate: Imre Lakatos and Alan Musgrave Lakatos (same age as Kuhn) and Musgrave. fellow philosophers, lecturers, organizers of the Popper Kuhn debate
Comparing Popper and Kuhn is not that easy because especially Karl Popper was a master in making wise statements that did not clarify his conceptual model. In fact Popper denied the existence of essentially different cultural realities (and differentconceptual schemes).

Popper: One Reality (Truth = Intelligent Design)
Kuhn: Many Paradigms (Truths = Cultural Behavior)
new perspective of Popper Kuhn Debate / intelligent design vs evolution / TRUTH vs truths

popper-kuhn-debate


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The Popper-Kuhn-debate is about

religion versus relativism

TRUTH driven behavior
Popper's World of Rational Mind versus
culture driven behavior
Kuhn's World of Cultures




Popper sees science as religion based on absolute beliefs called 'hypotheses'. Anything outside the religion is rejected. Conveniently ...., beliefs need no proof (religion).
Thomas Kuhn introduced the concept of 'paradigm' where scientists in every dominant paradigm do research WITHIN (=relative to) that cultural paradigm. Results that are in conflict with the dominant paradigm are ignored as long as possible, not to damage the consensus within the cultural reality.

western-truth-paradigm So it's really quite subtle.

We all know the dangers of disasters with big meteors, or less explosive the danger of cancer. But do we realize enough that cultural activity too can have HUGE consequences?

Karl Popper in his 'rational world' wasn't even aware that there were 'not-rational' cultural worlds, Kuhn showed that things are far more complicated than Popper's 'rational' view. Both values and 'facts' that Popper used to test predictions are very 'rational' (cultural). Think of values like democratical or 'human right'.
Both Popper and Kuhn were conservative scientists, only the honest curiosity of Kuhn (in his younger years) made him stumble on the borders of our western paradigm (western cultural behavior).

First let's make the distinction between religion and free curiosity. The word 'religo' in Latin means 'to bind', that meaning speaks for itself. Religion is binding people to a cultural truth.
The 'falsification' method of Popper is a method in the religion 'rationality'. Limited to use WITHIN western truth, and can not demask western truth. My personal opinion is that 'religion' (also the 'science'-religion) tends to 'sect behavior', while escape from a such a cultural prison takes curiosity.
Said in another way: "God hates religion (cultural truth)", or "curiosity evades rules".

war on terrorism
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In the Western World all of reality on earth is treated as slight variant of the own western cultural reality (Aristotelian Paradigm). We analyze Chinese cultural reality with use of only western concepts and often without speaking one word of Chinese.
In terms of dna (evolution long term) Chinese people and Westerners are very similar, but China and Western World are culturally far apart when seen on short term in evolution (= cultural behavior; see East meets West).
We westerners 'think' that our dictionaries English-Chinese and English language studybooks give us a sufficient 'knowledge' of Chinese culture. Many chinese concepts have no Western equivalent, and many aspects of Western Culture when seen from Chinese Culture while using Chinese concepts are utterly weird.
Western armies attack other cultural realities with wars on terrorism, assuming that their dominant Western cultural reality is 'truth'. Military bases act as deadly beehives of western culture in say Afghanistan.

The western notion 'thinking' points at part of western cultural reality. Western people learned to see 'thinking' as a real activity (as METAphysics = superior to physical reality), and as more than 'in western way physical puzzling with western cultural memory' (use of a cultural tool). Western people 'think' to be better in 'thinking' than people in other cultures. That is correct, but western people don't realize that metaphysics is a cultural hallucination and people from other cultures don't not 'think' in western way, but measure western culture by using the dominant concepts in own home culture.
The result of using the western tool 'thinking' is 'rational' ordering of western cultural memory, and is called knowledge. Western 'knowledge' can be seen as speed of finding in western cultural memory the skills to survive Western conflict-environment.
Cultural change can from within Western culture be experienced as very fast, but (if 'rational' change is filtered away) be observed as standstill in parallel cultures. Inside the western 'cultural beehive' life is ffffassst, but observers outside notice not much change, when they filter away the hectic so called 'intelligent' behavior (dropping atom bombs, economical wars, war on terrorism, economical crisis, ..). Einstein would agree: knowledge is relative to the paradigm/culture of the observer.

The young Thomas Kuhn was a brilliant student of theoretical physics AND curious. Young Kuhn stumbled on a way out of the ffasst but paralized western subreality around the dualism behind the concept 'intelligence'. Dualism became part of western culture after the Council of Chalcedon and was revived nuch later by Thomas Aquinas. (And indirectly also away from the concept 'intelligent design'). A 25 ages old Aristotelian concept (invention of an ancient Greek wizard in the hellenic warrior world), revived by Catholicism, and anyway in the meantime part of Western Cultural Reality.

As student Kuhn studied Aristotle's works in enough depth to realize in a flash that Aristotelian 'motion' is uncomparable with the 20th century notion motion. The word 'motion' used in Aristotelian way points to something like our present concept 'change'. Aristotle's work is about life in general in all its aspects, and not 'unintelligent' or 'bad' physics. Two culture dependent conceptual models.
church of ratio Kuhn suddenly realized that our western concept 'intelligence' is not only arrogant but totally cultural, and can be seen as 'religious'. Popper's 20th century cultural 'ratio' decides who is culturally accepted (those in power) who 'falsify' the truth of those who are not accepted (those whose cultural truth is seen as false, and who act as 'terrorist' mutations eating away the Western World ). Popper rejected Intelligent Design, but his belief in 'ratio' and a continuously improving science is not that different

Just like in Buddhism I take the point that individual skill and 'family behavior' (group with servant leaders) need to be in balance. I greatly admire the results in many fields of western science, but western expertise only explores 1 direction (depth) and drowns in complexity of its own 'intelligence'.
Wisdom varies position regularly, to review sense experience from a completely different 'angle'. Others, in your eyes, can only be generally WRONG, if YOU 'think' to own truth. Western 'knowledge' is cultural, it's dominance is fading.
Common knowledge, ... having huge consequences.

Major Paradigm Shift 2400 ages ago

order of alexander the great
Kuhn's notion paradigm is a brilliant tool for reevaluation of history, in particular the cultural split between East and West.
Thomas Kuhn observed that Karl Popper behaves as a western wizard who consistently operates within the 2400 ages old western paradigm.






The first really large empire was more than 2600 ages ago made by the Persians (start 550BC).
The Persians were the first people to unite three ancient river cultures under a single government (Nile Valley, Mesopotamia and Indus Valley). And the Persians opened regular contact between Africa, Asia and Europe.
Alexander the Great/the Cursed (356-323 B.C.) with his absurd conquests as result of his megalomaniac dream to destroy Persia realized instead that the Middle East became an Aristotelian barrier between China and Europe (the last and maybe only major paradigm shift until present).

Before Alexander the Great/the Cursed the Persian Empire was HUGE, and Greece/Macedon a dot on the map.
After.. Alexander the Great a huge Hellenic Empire seperated the Buddhist World and Europe.

It is enlightening to realize that the present Muslim World (with as extreme Al Qaida) originated in the Hellenic Empire (is Aristotelian). And it is equally enlightening to realize that Mohammedanism practical annihilated Zoroastrianism in Persia. Zoroastianism is the source of all Christianities AND of Buddhism. Only the dualism in ROMAN Christianity (source of Mohammedanism) is not practical like in Zoroastrianism, but idealized. So instead of practical oppositions in Zoroastrianism like healthy/unhealthy, in Roman Catholicism you find dualisms like perfect/imperfect, good/evil, metaphysical/physical.
The Aristotelian Western World that via the Roman Empire developed out of Hellenic thought still practiced massive slavery (of 'imperfect' humans) until start 20th century and never got acquainted with a holistic culture like Buddhism. Slavery was forbidden in Zoroastrian Persia.

In the 20th century the opinion of the western top philosopher Karl Popper was that western insights improve by learning from mistakes, but what is a mistake? (cultural mistakes are not recognized). If learning only uses own cultural concepts, than learning will never result in recognizing cultural mistakes. If when losing a war on terror you only learn that you need more drones and eavesdropdevices, then you missed the point that this terror might point at a serious flaw in your own culture.
What about 'non-science' followed by whole cultures? 'Law and Order' is a result of accepting THE Truth of only 1 (and western human made) conceptual scheme.

Aristotle versus Buddha.
Buddha lived in Northern India almost two centuries before Aristotle. The Buddhist world as Eastern belief system unlike the Aristotelian world is not a black-and-white world of 'contradictions’, of things and no-things, of A and not-A, of perfection and imperfection. The Aristotelian World cuts life in two, into 'perfect' and 'imperfect', into 'ideal design' and 'actual realization'.


Popper : Controlled Change towards 1 Truth; Kuhn: Many Truths that change in Jumps

popper kuhn debate In his 'Popper Ideology' Popper tried to find out why some consistent ideologies never become part of 'normal' science'.
Because ideology 3 = "The world is square" is consistent with ideology 1 = "the world is flat". Popper beliefs in 'normality', in fact he sees 'rationality' as Law of Nature. Popper sees semicontinuous replacement of scientific theories as the main engine of scientific growth.
Kuhn in his 'Kuhn ideology' was interested in the historical process by which some ideologies become science. Kuhn saw the inevitablity for outbreaks out of addictive "puzzling". Galileo's Ideology = "Round World" was heavily needed to remove the paradoxes of the old ideology = "the world is flat".

I feel that both believed science. to serve progress. Popper inherently stressed controlled progress as goal of science, and that's why he focused on preventing 'anormal' = 'wrong' changes. Kuhn did not think in moralistic terms that imply Truth being absolute. He denies the absolute use of the words 'right' and 'wrong' and stressed the inevitability of 'change'.
Kuhn did not consider 'science' itself as paradigm (he must have known better), and thus introduced 'Kuhnian Paradigms' or scientific revolutions INSIDE 'science'.

Trying to definitely stop avalanches is similar to suicide. 9 out of 10 may be blocked, and the 10th 'rolling thunder' clears the way. Even in the case of 999 out of 1000 evolution proves patient. 'Nature' obviously doesn't behave 'rational' . That's why Kuhn was primarily interested the unmistakebly relative logical force behind such inevitable change. For him volcanoes must have been just part of the by him studied process 'scientific change'. Kuhn focused on science but surely realized that he also entered the domain of 'sociology'.

popper versus kuhn, popper-kuhn debate gardening The terms 'normal' science and 'historical truth' show the differences in the approaches of Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn.
Popper believed in the existence of 1 gradually growing continuous normal science that has to be cultivated, and in absolute 'good and wrong' (dualism).
This dualism is what makes American leaders think that American Culture is superior and that they should export own puritan ethics (democracy and freedom of speech);
Kuhn thought science to be relative (no general good and wrong) and to change in jumps.

But in essence, its the difference between a 'rational' (continuous=absolute) view on happenings on the world, and a discrete (relative). Or thinking that progress can be totally explained by detailling (critical rationalism as basic truth) , or believing that important progress is made in jumps [deep plowing = drastically different conceptual scheme] to reach a different paradigm. Kuhn has deep respect for gardening (normal science) but also like Friedrich Nietzsche believes that every autumn (when the garden dies = in recession) the garden needs thorough plowing. You can understand that gardeners have difficulty to allow a plow in their refined artestry. Nietzsche was seen as a devil in 'rational' paradise.









Popper follows Darwin and Descartes / Kuhn follows Nietzsche

cultivating creative forest products, in rigid gardens to get a new beautiful forest, you need deep plowing Darwin showed that humans developed in tiny incremental steps out of apes. The tiny cartesian steps are still in the view that Karl Popper is using around WWII ('tiptoe through the tulips').
Thomas Kuhn around 1970 doesn't deny this part of progress, but adds that intelligence is much more than abstract thinking (like rationality). Creativity once in a while makes/needs abrupt jumps in thought (total paradigm shifts). Darwin and Popper's kind of progress is based on 'loving' patience and hard work, the jumps in thought are based on 'brutal' geniality. That geniality is not only rational, but can be based on usage of every sense. So Beethoven was a genius in thundering through music, as well as Picasso plowed brilliantly through painting. Kuhn focused on the logic reasoning part of intelligence, and recognized major partial paradigm shifts caused by people like Galilei and Einstein.

Unluckily Kuhn's view was not broadly accepted.
The garden decorators (rational Thinkers), thinking in compromise (inherent in a dual view), had still too much power.

It's like attacking a wall with a extendable ladder, or just jumping over it. In essence it's the difference between mathematical analysis and discrete mathematics. Most problems can be solved by extending existent views, but very few need a jump in thought. Or mostly compromise is enough (politics), but sometimes taking decisions is needed (leadership).
Looking at todays HUGE problems it is clear that abrupt change is needed. Substituting fossile fuel for energy purposes with vegetative fuel only makes things worse. The 'rational' way of attacking problem in controlled 'continuous' fashion has become way too dominant, costs are a poor argument to slow down change. High time to leave the rigid thinking about transportation means like cars on wheels on asphalt/concrete and petrol slurping brute force airplanes, and to stop thinking in minute unrisky changes.
If you are not going to grasp that the present shape of on individualism based democracy is strangling all other decision shapes, then you risk unexpected death in a desert of record height skyscrapers of beautifully subtile design.


Popper about Kuhn: 'Normal' science, in Kuhn's sense, exists. [..] ... in my view the 'normal' scientist, as Kuhn describes him, is a person one ought to be sorry for... He has been taught in a dogmatic spirit: he is a victim of indoctrination... I can only say that I see a very great danger in it and in the possibility of its becoming normal... a danger to science and, indeed, to our civilization. And this shows why I regard Kuhn's emphasis on the existence of this kind of science as so important.
Two Camps: Intuition and 'Analysis' (reason), Practice and Fiction


Recent western theories of knowledge can be divided generally in two 'competing' camps (paradigms)- the very slowly increasing relative view of the later Wittgenstein, Kuhn and others versus the very slowly decreasing absolute view of the dominant paradigm. One important defender of modern absolutism is the elder Popper (in fact without aiming for it the younger Popper had quite a few relative traits). Both sides investigate the borders of rationalism (in fact Kuhn's tool 'paradigm shift' is the way for leaving this dream (system of thought) by getting awake in one flash of mind.
Karl Popper in his active adult life defended 'rationalism' in his own critical variant. The elder Popper revives 'evolutionary epistomology' (evolutionary theory of knowledge or ideology), and researches knowledge under specific conditions. This approach to knowledge was quite popular in the nineteenth century after Darwin's book on evolution. It only shows that not unusually on respectable age Popper tended to become conservative and prescriptive, quite different from his ideals in former adult years.

popper and kuhn The democratic liberalist Popper can't help that the Ideology of Darwin became mostly practiced in religious circles (the word taken in its meaning dogmatic). That's certainly not to disqualify this group, but just an observation. Because everytime I searched for this difficult word on Internet I ended up in sites about religious subjects. That may be coincidence but the word this way seemed to me to attract people with a conservative, religious outlook on the world ('religious' seen as god-believe in prescriptive sense). That's probably why the fundamentalism in the doctrine rationalism inherent in the thoughts of the elder Popper became common practice in this corner of society that defends acquired power.


Overhere I found a system of thought (nightmare) that in my view in many ways still resembles the one in early Enlightenment, i.e. characterized by things like 'absolutism', strong god-believe (often in a dogmatic sense), conservative liberalism. Fascinating, but it triggered in me an uncomfortable feeling (most feelings in rationalism became marginal in circles of power). Worrying because I found much more power-arguments here, then real debating arguments.

Evolution is purely triggered by chance + selection, but if things locally get really out of hand, then something like an ice age erases all mistakes.










Virtual discussion made into black and white standpoints

popper kuhn debate was polite chat


Although both scientists seem reasonable to me, what came to be known as "The Popper-Kuhn debate" is loaded with in pure rationalist thought loathed emotions.
Many arguments used are clearly unproven, often anti 'inductivism' is mentioned. I'll try to stay away from delicate statements. In numbers Popper's standpoint is much more popular, scientists like rules to check things. So better not use western 1 man - 1 vote democracy to make a 'rational' choice.
In quality Kuhn's standpoint survives.

The views of Popper and Kuhn contrasted on 1 point: (1) The existence of universal/eternal natural laws ('rational' laws). This is seen in Popper in 'science' in 'continuous' way 'rationally' defining/creating 'rational' laws, and 'rationally' testing against such self-invented laws. And in Kuhn considering 'common sense life' to proceed with emotionally brute 'jumps' in 'variation'.

Differences and similarities; Compare and Contrast
Both rejected the possibility of 'unprejudiced' observation (theory-neutral observation or language-neutral observation)
· Popper thought that 'crucial' experiments are the norm ('crucial' though seems to him identical to 'rational').
Popper sees a science becoming 'normal' as result of bad teaching and indoctrination. He thought criticism was sufficient. (Henk Tuten: Like Freedom of Speech).
Popper saw scientific growth was achieved through human problem solving (creationism), and smoothly (continuous) moving from one knowledge-set to another.
· Popper saw evolution as the drive of development of THE logic behind knowledge.
Kuhn saw evolution randomly trying many systems of thought, and some way selecting. Kuhn considered 'logics' as cultural designs for fixing cultural practices.
Kuhn saw 'evolutional' not as the human concept 'continuous, but discovered that variation result in jumps (paradigm shifts triggered by a very successful variant).
· Popper in essence thought 'rational' in a modern way. For Kuhn rationality was only 1 of limitless dreams (a kuhnian paradigm or conceptual schemes).
· Popper thought that testing theories realized 'change' .
Kuhn believed that in every dream its own basic rules are immune for testing (its own points of departure).
In Kuhn's terms, Popper hided within 1 kuhnian paradigm (rational science). Popper was fundamentally convinced that rationality was THE logic for researching natural laws.
Still Popper believed to be revolutionary, he should have remembered that: there is no entity within a logic with the authority to define that logic
.

Popper made an essential point (without realizing). 'Rationality' is a subtile tool to make the 'rational' variant of limitless reality consistent.
Without limiting basic assumption Mind-Body Split it might strengthen the evolutional 'logic' common sense.
Kuhn made a VERY essential point: 'rational' logic is not fit to research the basics of say Red Indian culture. Red Indian behavior was seen as terrorism by early US colonists. Because this behavior follows rules outside 'rationality', that like Buddhism obey 'Unity of Body and Mind'.
NO, a compromise between Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn would be 'rational'. But both theories are part of the TOTAL of ways to handle the unity reality.












Leadership without Fear .......................or......... Hesitating around Status Quo


Closed-Circle Theory: Wisdom is relative (Kuhn)

Meanings, according to Wittgenstein, are formulated and stated in 'language games' (to be honest this idea is already found in the work of Nietzsche);. They consist of a set of rules that constitute closed circles of meanings. Because there is no individual (general) language as such there are no individual meanings, and because such systems are closed circles there is no reference to anything outside the system (i.e., an objective "world"). Only inside the circle there are objective meanings, thus 'the only truth' is your own dream (fundamentalists trying to make a general dream are denied).

In Kuhn's masterwork "Scientific Revolutions" Wittgenstein's closed-circle language worlds were turned into paradigms, and scientific revolutions seen as a shift from one paradigm to another. In this view Einstein's physics does not partially extend Newton's (showing something that was implicitly already there), doesn't reject it either, BUT adds something extra to it that was not in this scheme. Closed-circle theory includes that there is more than only rationality.


Evolutionary Epistemology: Knowledge is Absolute (Popper)

Evolutionary epistemology studies knowledge under specific conditions. Only it presumes such conditions are rational, and that all dreams are rational. In fact it resembles what technicians mention as a closed-loop system. Not totally, because borders of rational cultures are slightly open, but near to it. As such it is more limited than Closed Circle Theory. They only see 1 closed circle or closed system, a rational one. Only such a game is presumed to be objective. On top of that the game is supposed to be evolutionary.

The tendency in this camp is to see Closed-circle theorists as anti evolutionists. But Wittgenstein and Kuhn are NOT denying evolution, only they see it as more than only rational and as A particuliar game of knowledge.

This shape of absolutism, is a modern version of Logical Positivism (Vienna circle)


High Time



Democracy in the present shape even in the rational paradigms is suspect. Together with another other suspect concept capitalism this seems responsible for enormous differences in undergone social emotions.


In other words: HIGH time in the Western World to stop hiding and revalue: democracy, capitalism, and intelligence as found in feelings.

Many communication problems on earth are in fact paradigm (culture) clashes. There's only one solution: teaching the history of say the three major paradigms (Christianity, Islam and Buddhism) in a nutshell in every paradigm. As well as their major paradigm shifts and major myths. This should be done by someone still belonging to that paradigm.


Based on upgraded concepts and improved knowledge about each other communication between different cultures on earth will be much simpler.

Einstein's interesm in Buddhism could be seen as recognizing the far reaching effects of relativism in social sciences.


Looking 5 minutes at television I saw one message about a group of pinguins being saved by being flown back by the Brazilian army from one of their beaches to the South Pole. And I read about a kangaroo in Australity getting a National Bravity Medal. That's fine, but it would be nice to if more attention was spent as well on beings that are a lot closer to us. People living in different cultures.












popper-kuhn-debate