Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 10, No 2 (2014)

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Popper’s View of Modern Science: In the Footsteps of Schelling

Alexander John Naraniecki


This paper argues that Popper's mature philosophy reveals an inheritance from the post-Kantian tradition of German naturalism. An appreciation of this tradition is necessary for an understanding of Popper's mature thought. By drawing parallels between Popper's naturalistic metaphysics and Schelling's, this paper aims to open a new direction in Popper scholarship, as well as highlight the continuing relevance of Popper and Schelling for contemporary debates in the philosophy of science. In order to show a commonality between the two, a non-standard reading of Popper is presented.  Recently, there has been much re-appraisal of Schelling's naturalism as a process philosophy for contemporary debates in the philosophy of science, and it is to this line of scholarship that provides the most fruitful comparisons with Popper.   The Popper presented here may come as a surprise for those in the Anglophone world already familiar with his thought. Rather a lesser known comportment of the Viennese philosopher is presented, one that was occluded from the personality he cultivated at the London School of Economics. This side of Popper did not appear in his English publications until later in his life, and then often regarded by others as ‘the folly of old age'.  The aim of this exercise is to show Popper's grounding in a longer German tradition of Naturphilosophie.

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