Evolutionary Epistemology, Rationality and the Sociology of Knowledge
Edited by Gerard Radnitzky and W. W. Bartley Ill
Sir Karl Popper is not really a participant in the contemporary professional philosophical dialogue; quite the contrary, he has ruined that dialogue. If he is on the right track, then the majority of professional philosophers the world over has wasted or is wasting their intellectual careers. The gulf between Popper's way of doing philosophy and that of the bulk of professional philosophers is as great as that between astronomy and astrology. I believe that Popper is on the right track. (William W Bartley, Philosophia, 1976)
This volume adds weight to Bartley's claim that Popper is on the right track but has not received due credit because his ideas have suffered from misreading and other mishaps. While the Popper school fell apart in the 1960s, Popper and Donald T. Campbell independently pursued their work on evolutionary epistemology and this volume picks up some of the pieces of the Popper program that should have been assembled two decades before.
It would help to have an introductory statement in Evolutionary Epistemology to place the main themes of the volume in context to explain some of the themes in this book that are likely to be novel for people who are not familiar with evolutionary epistemology in general and the ideas of Karl Popper in particular. This is required to explain the nature of Popper's achievement and its failure to impress the academic philosophers. I will offer some ideas along those lines, followed by an account of Bartley's work on rationality before returning to the topic of evolutionary epistemology. The reason for this crab-like approach to the main topic of the book is that the new ideas offered here are not terribly difficult to grasp provided that we can get some old ideas out of the way.
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