[hist-analytic] Analytic Philosophy of History

Danny Frederick danny.frederick at btinternet.com
Fri Sep 17 18:02:50 EDT 2010

Hi Ron,


I think you need to distinguish Popper from both Hume and Hempel.


First, Popper says that for Hume causation is just constant conjunction [not
quite accurately], whereas for him it involves a UNIVERSAL HYPOTHESIS and
the necessary connection between the events is to be found in the fact that
the conjunction of the universal hypothesis with a description of the first
event entails a description of the second event ('Open Society,' note 7 to
chapter 25, p.363 of the 1966 edition).


Second, you talk in this connection of covering laws a la Hempel. But Hempel
borrowed this idea from Popper's 'Logic of Scientific Discovery,' which was
originally published in German as 'Logik der Forschung' in 1934 (with the
imprint '1935').  Hempel's exposition (according to Popper) is in a J Phil
article of 1942; but Hempel had commented on Popper's exposition of the idea
in his review of 'Logik der Forsching' in 1937. See 'Open Society,' p.364.


You are right that Popper agreed with Hume that universal laws could not be
justified by induction (or by anything else, for that matter). But Popper
adamantly denies that generalisations that resist falsification warrant
belief. He repeatedly insists that belief is irrational (see, e.g., 'Logic
of Scientific Discovery,' p.282, 'Unended Quest,' 87). He also argued at
length, in many places, that tests or evidence cannot increase the
probability of a theory (a universal theory always has a probability of 0).






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