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Karl Popper's Philosophy of Biology

Michael Ruse
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 44, No. 4 (Dec., 1977), pp. 638-661
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/186943
Page Count: 24
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Karl Popper's Philosophy of Biology
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Abstract

In recent years Sir Karl Popper has been turning his attention more and more towards philosophical problems arising from biology, particularly evolutionary biology. Popper suggests that perhaps neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory is better categorized as a metaphysical research program than as a scientific theory. In this paper it is argued that Popper can draw his conclusions only because he is abysmally ignorant of the current status of biological thought and that Popper's criticisms of biology are without force and his suggestions for its improvement are without need. Also it is suggested that Popper's desire to see scientific theory growth as being in some sense evolutionary may have led him astray about biology. And conversely it is suggested that since his claims about biology are not well taken his analysis of theory growth may well bear reexamination.

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