Conjectures and Refutations by Karl R Popper


There are unjustified prophecies especially when it comes to science and anticipations which assist our knowledge by providing guesses, tentative solutions, predictive solutions, and scientific justifications known as conjectures. However, Karl R. Popper discusses his opinion on the reliability of conjectures and refutations in this book and thus extensively explain the phenomenon of hypothesis as prophecy and experimentation to produce a result. The author not only uses scientific instances but also uses supportive shreds of evidence from politics and history in order to create a practical sense of enlightenment within the audience of this book.

Popper applies bold theories of knowledge growth to deal with a number of problems in this world that range between least fascinating to most fascinating. The origin of science and its relationship with individuals is extensively discussed in this book with reference to daily life subjects. Though he stresses upon that although conjectures are strong public opinions, they remain conjectures and are not considered to be accepted until and unless they are proved by a scientific method using relevant techniques as explained by science.

Critical Review

Starting with a relevant philosophical approach, Karl R. Popper says in his book that “Among the theories which interested me Einstein’s theory of relativity was no doubt by far the most important. Three others were Marx’s theory of history, Freud’s psychoanalysis, and Alfred Adler’s so-called ‘individual psychology'”. So the author basically puts light on the three theories that he has interest in. He uses brilliant rhetorical tools to assist him in this. With taking Adler’s theory into account the author tells how different human behaviors are. One might differ with another and this causes differences in interpretation and collection of knowledge. Looking for confirmations of any theory might result in an approval as suggested by Karl R. Popper. The more a theory forbids, the better it is. Popper tells the strengthening factors of predictions as theories that irrefutability is not a virtue of theory.

Furthermore, Popper explains the scientific rejection of theories that contain falsification such as astrology, and imitation of auras, etc. These theories actually can be differentiated by a decent line of demarcation among the statements that claim to be scientifically acceptable but that is not the case. Induction is one of the most talked about scientific aspect and thus with a personal experience Karl R. Popper wants to deliver the thought that induction can be a myth as it helps in developing the criterion of variability and it amplifies a faulty demarcation.

On discussing the present situation of philosophy, the author uses subject matters as a medium of distinguishing among different disciplines. On using examples of physics, biology, and rest of the subjects, Popper wants to deliver the main content which leads to building up a gap between two or more subjects. The two reasons that he points out are either historical and administrative procedures or the growth of ultimate issues into unified systems. Reviewing critically, the author believes in the principle of prima facie where a person starts with the very basic level to gain knowledge using the works of greatest philosophers and this would help the subject to build an honest effort in order to wrap up his mind for a certain theory.

Karl R. Popper tells that all the scientific theories, revolutions, laws, and causations are pieces of evidence of logic that is extracted from historicism. A bright image of the relationship between history and present is visible in this text. Needs and wants of social sciences are also very well organized in his writing where the author highlights the prediction trajectory of history, religion, age-old ideas of phenomenon such as eclipses, movements of planets, the doctrine of astronomical believes, and conditional predictions. The author uses examples from science and life to provide supportive evidence to his context of conditional and scientific prophecies, for instance, boiling of water can automatically and conditionally be perceived as a change in temperature i.e. rise. The author also claims to falsify the validation of social sciences in creating prophecies for future development. To provide support to his statement, Popper used scientific examples such as second law thermodynamics, production of 100% efficient machinery, etc. Popper writes about the connection between historical philosophies and scientific predictions.

Moreover, in terms of economic context, Karl R. Popper presents a critical and neutral argument, both in favor and in against of the most talked about the theory of market liberals i.e. Marxism and its economic variant in order to simplify the sets of beliefs associated with it, also known as Scientific Socialism. The author does not directly use the tab of historicism in order to provide a direct attack on Marxism but instead, he criticizes the theory with reference to the opinions, old and modern political, views of several philosophers especially all those except for Marx himself. Diversity is visible in the views of those philosophers belonging to different schools of scientific thought. Karl R. Popper tries to emotionally appeal his readers in order to interpret contexts related to “Man and Society”. Similarly, he provides invalidation to the acceptance of and rushes towards ready-made available solutions when validating the new theories, philosophies, and science-related themes. The author tells true and authentic ways of reaching a finalized scientific conclusion by following critics of the method as a weapon to approach problems. This critic of the method provides self-elaboration and explanation to all the problems and their causes plus solutions. Hence, this scientific method of the critic develops a formal definition of causation.

The author creates a contrast between rationalism, romanticism and optimistic school of thought. As well, he compares it with Kant’s thoughts over enlightenment. Freedom of speech and doctrine faith in public opinions is the man’s emergence from the immaturity that is self-imposed by himself. Moreover, there’s a strong connection in these terms of shaping modernity. A person set free to speak and present his thoughts and opinions not only face several dangers but is a danger himself. Public opinions are strong enough to bring a revolution and evolution. Karl R. Popper elaborates the danger using his own experience as the best relative example to this case of free speech where collective arguments can provide harm to a specific group of individuals. Furthermore, Popper uses analogies to provide supportive pieces of evidence when he discusses liberalization of principles and theories, effective on the society. The author uses a democratic point of view against the opinions and liberalization and how it affects the outcomes of a positive demand in the society. The author elaborates the circumstances of democracy in a relationship with liberal principles and theses using relevant theories and discourse of ideas.


The author develops a critical understanding of what requires actually to be a truth and not a myth. A truth demands imagination, trial, error, and the gradual discovery of prejudices. Public opinions have great effects on the density of truths. Popper confronts the purity of truth as it changes with the effectiveness of public opinions collectively as a strong tool of personifying the actual fact as a fallacy. Karl R. Popper also uses supportive pieces of evidence and examples where he showed how public opinions affect political illustrations and theses. Opinions are free speech, every individual has right to speak whatever it believes to be the discourse or set of ideas. None should refrain from accepting the opinions. Opinions should be respected without getting offended and argumentation of consent. Overall, public opinions play a vital role in developing a society and are strong enough to modify the theories of truth and doctrine faith of beliefs.


Popper, Karl Raimund. Conjectures and refutations: the growth of scientific knowledge. Routledge, 2002.