Short Essay 1 Assignment
Your essay should be around 750 words in length, double-spaced and in 11-12pt font of a reasonable style.
Peirce and Popper attempt to give an account of why, and on what grounds, the sciences merit the high esteem in which they are held. Perhaps surprisingly, each identifies errors or getting things wrong as the characteristic of science that explains why it is privileged as a way of knowing. Is this similarity between Peirce and Popper superficial or deep? Are they basically saying the same thing, or is it somehow misleading to focus on this resemblance? To help you think through these larger questions, here are some smaller questions: (a) What role, exactly, does being wrong play in Perice's self-correcting
method of science and in Popper's criterion of falsifiability? (b) Where and how does each author discuss being wrong and its significance in the text? (c) By what arguments, or on the strength of what reasons, does each author arrive at his conclusions regarding the importance of being wrong? (d) What are the contrast classes to science in each case? What examples or characterizations are given of what is unscientific or pseudoscientific? (e) How exactly do things in the contrast class fall short of being scientific? Is it impossible for these things to be wrong? And if so, in what sense precisely, can they not get things wrong? [NOTE: I do not expect that you will answer ALL of these smaller questions in your essay. They are intended to guide your reflection and reasoning. Answering them for yourself will, I hope, help you in formulating a response to the larger questions above.]