Strictly for nerdish cosmology junkies

An important paper by Helge Kragh on Popper’s contribution to cosmology.

The paper examines the historical contexts of the interaction between cosmology and Popperian philosophy of science. Apart from covering Popper’s inspiration from Einstein and his views on questions of cosmology, it focuses on the impact of his thoughts in two periods of controversy of modern cosmology, the one related to the steady state theory and the other to the recent multiverse proposal. It turns out that the impact has been considerable, and continues to be so, but also that the versions of Popperian methodology discussed by cosmologists are sometimes far from what Popper actually thought and wrote.

I include in Section 5 some new information about his late opinion of cosmological models, as he described it in a hitherto unknown letter shortly before his death in 1994.

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5 Responses to Strictly for nerdish cosmology junkies

  1. stackja

    Strictly for nerdish cosmology junkies

    Few of the scientists commenting on the merits or faults of Popper’s philosophy of science have actually read him, but rely on what they have been told or happen to know.

    The media today!

    According to Popper, a theory is falsifiable if one can derive from it unambiguous predictions for practical experiments, such that – were contrary results seen – at least one premise of the theory would have been proven not true. … Confirmation of a prediction of a theory does not show that the theory is true, but falsification of a prediction can show it is false.

    True or false seems ambiguous!

  2. jupes

    Confirmation of a prediction of a theory does not show that the theory is true, but falsification of a prediction can show it is false.

    Fixed it for the Poppster. No ambiguity now.

  3. Lysander

    is it science or pseudo science? :-)

  4. Mullumhillbilly

    Just a quick note to to say thanks Rafe for the post.

  5. Uber

    Science is possibly the worst of all professions for idolising its celebrities. Once you become a scientific celebrity you can say no wrong (for 200 years or so anyway). It would seem that if you’re not a celebrity, you must become a sheep or a sycophant if you want paid work.

    Anyway, although I know very little about Popper’s work, based on his earlier stuff that I’ve seen I’m sure he would consider multiverse theories to be astonishingly un-scientific, along with most other cosmological nonsense.

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