14.8.07

Rationalism & Freedom

Reasons, like science, grow by way of mutual criticism; the only possible way of ‘planning’ its growth is to develop those institutions that safeguard the freedom of this criticism, that is to say, the freedom of thought. (Popper 1950: 412)

…rationalism is linked up with the recognition of the necessity of social institutions to protect freedom of criticism, freedom of thought, and thus the freedom of men. (Popper 1950: 423)

By appealing to above sentences, Popper asserts that, growth in reason and rationalism can only be pursued in an open and liberal atmosphere. Popper believes that reason is a product of social life. We learn to argue rationally from our communication with other members of the society (Popper 1950: 411). This belief gives rise to the notion that scientific attitude is born from the society, or more precisely, from the intercourse with other human beings.

In general, open society generated by elements of individualism, equalitarianism, faith in reason, liberalism etc. encourages rational criticism. Without critical rationalism, falsification of hypotheses both in science and other human knowledge can never take place.

--- I admire Sir Karl Popper, for his wisdom, diligence and creativity. Sentences above are taken from one of my assignments in school.

10 comments:

suayhwa said...

"...open society generated by elements of individualism, equalitarianism, faith in reason, liberalism etc. encourages rational criticism."

these are what our society needs.

陈慧思 said...

So according to Popper's definition, our society is a closed one :-)

koolgeek said...

a closed one

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Anonymous said...

"Popper believes that reason is a product of social life. We learn to argue rationally from our communication with other members of the society"

Today i was thinking that language is much more the product of a reasoning mind in a social situation. The need to communicate in a sophisticated manner made words necessary tools for shareing insights of reason with other individuals. So in communication with other members of society we learn to express our minds already full of ideas. Communication enriches those ideas when reason governs the dialogue. But not all social situations benefit reasonable argumentation. We see today deep rational thought frequently sinking under the prejudices of popular understanding of the world. Still, I don't know what exactly Popper meant. But surely, sitting in an empty room alone with noone to disagree with you hinders the potential of the rational mind.

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