Karl Raimund Popper

Birth 1902
Death 1994

Philosopher of science and sociology. He offered a new perspective on scientific methodology: making deductive generalisations on the basis of huge quantities of proven facts is no way to prove the accuracy of a scientific theory, given that a single negative ‘outlier’ renders all that effort worthless and disproves the theory. As an example, the claim that all swans are white falls to pieces the moment you discover even one single black swan. Out of Popper’s extensive scientific legacy, we only agree with him on one thing: his historical perspective. Popper denied the existence of any kind of objective law governing social evolution (the course of history is determined by the actions of independent individuals) and criticised Plato (the first ‘totalitarian’), Hegel and Marx for their narrowly deterministic, so-called ‘natural’, laws for the evolution of the world. This applied particularly to Marx, whose ideas about ‘class war and the classless society to come’ resulted in innumerable human sacrifices.

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