Feynman on scientific method

Physicist Prof. Richard Feynman explains the scientific and unscientific methods of understanding nature.

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3 responses to “Feynman on scientific method

  1. The philosophy of science in the US was so dominated by the “logical empiricism” that was carried from Europe by the intellectual diaspora of the 1930s that Popper would have only been mentioned in passing in intellectual circles, (if at all) as a “positivist with a twist”.

    It is unlikely that they would have said anything about Popper that would arouse interest in a scientist who was quite contemptuous of philosophy, with good reasons in the case of the logical positivists and the logical empiricists!

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  2. Feynman never mentioned Popper but he was a Popperian without knowing it – the driving principle was to “guess and test”!
    Strange that nobody ever told him about Popper.

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    • I agree that Feynman was a Popperian on scientific method, but I would be surprised if he was unfamiliar with Popper’s work, even if only second-hand. Although physics professors may not read much philosophy, the academic circles that Feynman moved in at that time (1950s and 60s) would probably have mentioned Popper from time to time when discussing scientific methods. Of course, this was a popular talk rather than an academic lecture, so citation of references would not normally be done in this context.

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