Between Classical and Modern Theory of Science. Hermann von Helmholtz und Karl R. Popper, compared epistemologically.

In Heinz Lübbig (ed.), The Inverse Problem. Akademie Verlag und VCH Weinheim (1995)
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With his influence on the development of physiology, physics and geometry, Hermann von Helmholtz – like few scientists of the second half of the 19th century – is representative of the research in natural science in Germany. The development of his understanding of science is not less representative. Until the late sixties, he emphatically claimed the truth of science; later on, he began to see the conditions for the validity of scientific knowledge in relative terms, and this can, in summary, be referred to as hypothesizing. Already in the past century, HeImholtz made first approaches to an understanding of science, which were incompatible with his own former position and which pointed to the modern age to an astonishingly large extent. A comparison with Karl R. Popper's logic of research will illustrate how closely he nevertheless approached modern understanding of science. In Popper's logic of research, hypothesizing of scientific knowledge is definitely much more advanced than in Helmholtz's theory of science. What begins vaguely to emerge with Helmholtz has already become an explicitly formulated programme with Popper. Although HeImholtz and Popper are not on a direct line of epistemological development and Popper refers to HeImholtz only rarely and casually, there are in fact surprising points of contact which have not been taken notice of so far and which appear above all if one looks at Helmholtz's understanding of science against the background of Popper's logic of research.
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