Say something about Conjectures & Refutations

Project Summary:
I am currently in the process of reading Conjectures & Refutations by Karl Popper. I want to discuss what I read more often as I don’t do this enough. This seems like a good opportunity to try out this mini projects forum. I want to do this with a small, clear, achievable goal.

Post a comment or question here about C&R.

Success criteria (& optional failure criteria):
This week (by end of 12/2/23) I will post a reply here saying something about what I have read in C&R, or I will fail in this goal.

Big picture goal, why you want to do this, or CF relevance:
Understanding Critical Rationalism better and having more conversations about what I read.

I read C&R as an audio book for about an hour a day while taking a walk. I will try to think of something interesting to comment on or ask about here.

Welcome to the forum.

Have we conversed before?

You may want to introduce yourself: Introductions


Yes but I would prefer to keep past conversation anonymous. I don’t plan to reference any of it and it’s been years since in any case.

How I’m reading:

I read while walking. I listen along, I don’t skip sections, and I don’t repeat something unless I can’t follow something and it seems like something I could conceivably follow if I listened again in this format.

This isn’t as efficient as reading the book in a focused way. I’m effectively skimming, and can focus in at a later suitable time (such as when sitting with the book as I am now) when I find something I want to dig in to more deeply. I think this is a useful way of getting through the book which I think has some important stuff for me but also a lot of stuff that is not of great interest to me.

It’s hard to follow the logical algebra in audio book form, I don’t repeat those sections as I don’t think any amount of relistening would give me a useful level of understanding.

General thoughts on C&R:

I think there’s a lot of stuff in the book that is useful and important (such as the extensive refutation of critics) but not of immediate interest to me. It’s good to know this is something Popper took very seriously so if I do interact with someone who is critical of Popper I can look these up and read them seriously to answer the criticism.

I think even if I did just sit down and read the book I would probably need to reread a lot to understand it very well.

Specifically from reading this week Chapter 11

The idea of separating metaphysics and physics which Popper argues against seems that it would abandon all conceptual thinking of things that can’t be measured physically. This reminded me of the anti-conceptual mindset explained by Ayn Rand.

I’m not trying to say that they are the same, or have the same cause. They seem to be compatible ideas. I think this could help understand scientists who are contemptuous of philosophy.

I think it is useful to be clearly aware of when your ideas are measurable in the language in physics. I think this will almost always allow you to falsify those ideas in relatively straightforward (or at least well understood) ways. I don’t think this is a good demarcation of what ideas to consider as true though, yet a lot of people seem to do that. I think people think it’s a good idea because they haven’t learned about using falsifiability as demarcation yet, so they don’t have the tools to identify true and false ideas that are “metaphysical”.

Project Conclusion

I have now succeeded in my goal.

This is a lot longer than I intended it to be. I could say more but would prefer to know if I’ve made any big mistakes first.

It was also easier than I expected it to be. I had some anxiety about publicly talking about reading. I felt pressure to say something very clever because this is a serious philosophy forum. I don’t think I said anything very clever. I don’t know what would count as very clever, I think if I tried to only say things that are very clever I’d never say anything and never learn how to say things that are very clever. It doesn’t matter very much though, being clever was never the goal. Unless you need to say clever things to take part in this forum, in which case I’m in trouble. I don’t think this is the case, I think I project my own inner critic onto this place.

I like this project format.

I’d like to keep commenting on C&R like this as I read. Would it be better to start a new topic somewhere else?

If you were going to have a goal trait here, I’d suggest honest, definitely not clever (or the related traits impressive or complex).

Clarity and avoiding overconfidence are good too. It’s bad to often confidently say something incorrect, but it’s fine to be wrong frequently if readers wouldn’t interpret the statements as confident. That’s related to honesty about the status of your knowledge.

Yeah you could use Projects, Unbounded or Other.