The Logic of Scientific Discovery

The Logic of Scientific Discovery

Cover of the first edition
Author Karl Popper
Original title Logik der Forschung
Cover artist Dibakar Das
Language German
Subject Philosophy of science
  • 1934 (Mohr Siebeck, in German)
  • 1959 (in English)
Media type Print
Pages 513 (2002 Routledge edition)
ISBN 3-16-148410-X (German edition)
0-415-27844-9 (2002 Routledge edition)
OCLC 62448100

The Logic of Scientific Discovery is a 1959 book about the philosophy of science by Karl Popper.

Popper rewrote his book in English from the 1934 German original, titled Logik der Forschung. Zur Erkenntnistheorie der modernen Naturwissenschaft, which literally translates as, The Logic of Research: On the Epistemology of Modern Natural Science.[1]

The work has become famous.[2]


Popper argues that science should adopt a methodology based on falsifiability, because no number of experiments can ever prove a theory, but a single experiment can contradict one. Popper held that empirical theories are characterized by falsifiability.


The Logic of Scientific Discovery has become famous.[2] Harry Guntrip writes that its publication "greatly stimulated the discussion of the nature of scientific knowledge, even by those who do not wholly agree with him, such as Kuhn of Princeton...and Harré of Oxford".[3] Carl Jung, founder of analytical psychology, valued the work according to the writer Vincent Brome, who recalls Jung remarking in 1938 that it exposed "some of the shortcomings of science".[4] Philosopher Bryan Magee writes that Popper's criticisms of logical positivism were "devastating". In Magee's view, Popper's most important argument against logical positivism is that, while it claimed to be a scientific theory of the world, its central tenet, the verification principle, effectively destroyed all of science.[5]

Alan Sokal writes that a significant part of the problems that currently affect the philosophy of science "can be traced to ambiguities or inadequacies in Popper's The Logic of Scientific Discovery".[6]


  1. Karl Popper ([1979] 2009). The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge, Troels Eggers Hansen ed., Andreas Pickel, trans., p. 485, fn. 5.
  2. 1 2 Cornforth, Maurice (1968). The Open Philosophy and the Open Society: A Reply to Dr. Karl Popper's Refutations of Marxism. New York: International Publishers. p. 5.
  3. Guntrip, H (September 1978). "Psychoanalysis and some scientific and philosophical critics: (Dr Eliot Slater, Sir Peter Medawar and Sir Karl Popper)". The British journal of medical psychology. 51 (3): 207–24. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8341.1978.tb02466.x. PMID 356870.
  4. Brome, Vincent (1980). Jung: Man and Myth. London: Paladin. p. 14. ISBN 0-586-08361-8.
  5. Magee, Bryan. Confessions of a Philosopher. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1997, p. 46.
  6. Sokal, Alan. Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture. Oxford University Press, 2008, pp. 182-183.
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