Popper's Flirt with Dogmatism

Zuzana Parusniková


At various occasions Popper states that in order for a theory to show its strength “certain amount” of dogmatism must precede the critical testing phase. He even argues that dogmatism is a necessary precondition of criticism. These are alarming statements, undermining Popper’s methodological imperative of falsification. Critical rationalism is based on a strict opposition to dogmatism for logical reasons (justification is impossible), for evolutionary reasons (justification blocks the growth of knowledge), and for ideological reasons (dogmatism encourages totalitarianism). Popper cannot provide any objective criterion defining the proper dosage of dogmatism and thus opens doors to its uncontrolled expansion. Criticism thus ceases to be the non-negotiable normative principle and the inviolable standard of rationality.


criticism; dogmatism; rationality; methodology of science

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