Updated: 6 January 2003

Applying Critical Rationalism


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I'd like to encourage wider knowledge and wider acceptance of critical rationalism. The following articles on the application of critical rationalism to various real-life topics are my first step in this direction. I shall add items here as I work on them. For the time being, they are just notes for a work in progress. Many of them will be based on ideas I contributed to the Critical Cafe and to its successor, the Karl Popper discussion group.

These opinions are my own. I do not claim to speak for other people or for any "mainstream" of popperian thought (I hope there is no such thing, as I wish to see the popperian method applied to all relevant issues).

I am also interested in discussing certain issues relating to critical rationalism and in hearing of relevant information sources on these issues. Please feel free to email me.

These topics include:

  • What can we say of falsification in the world of non-linear systems, where we may have to resort (for lack of anything better that is practical) to linear or approximate non-linear models of complex behaviour, and we know that at some point the behaviour of the real system will deviate from the theoretical model, but we don't know where? Perhaps some measure of fuzzy falsification, with a probabilistic or other interpretation? Has anyone actually explored this issue from a popperian point of view?
  • Can we apply a critical rationalist point of view to communicating information from speaker/writer to listener/reader, to ensure the best understanding? This relates to both my occupation and to my experiences in newsgroups and mailing lists on the Internet.
  • The common use of "justificationist" arguments in the way economics is presented to the public in the media, by economists and journalists, and the resulting fallacies.
  • How can we apply critical rationalism to better informing the work of public institutions, particularly the law?

Copyright © 1999-2003 Richard Burnham