Karl Popper (1902 – 1994) was an Austrian philosopher, professor and writer of Jewish origin, later nationalized in Britain.
Popper is still studied in Western social science faculties as one of the most prolific and profound thinkers of the 20th century. His works, which encompass any form of political, philosophical and sociological analysis, were characterized by the analysis of his experiences in the two world wars at the beginning of the century.
- “75 philosophical phrases spoken by great thinkers”
- “Ludwig Wittgenstein’s 25 best sentences”
Karl Popper’s Best Famous Quotes
Agnostic and anti-nationalist, Popper’s work includes titles such as “The Open Society and its Enemies” or “The Logic of Scientific Research”. His social theories and thoughts are still central to the analysis of the dynamics of society.
In this article we will compile the best sentences of Karl Popper , an essential philosopher from whom we can learn a lot.
1. For a nation, freedom is more important than wealth, and in political life, this is an indispensable condition for living at least humanly.
The basis for democracy, according to Karl Popper.
2. In the name of tolerance, we should claim the right not to tolerate intolerant people.
A play on words that hides a great truth.
3. Whoever is unable to speak clearly must keep quiet until he can do so.
If you can’t express yourself properly… you better keep practicing until you get it.
4. The open society is one in which men have learned to be to some extent critical of taboos, and to base decisions on the authority of their own intelligence.
Reflecting on the perfect society.
5. True ignorance is not the absence of knowledge, but the refusal to acquire it.
The ignorance sought is extreme misery, according to Popper.
6. Reason is not all-powerful, it is a tenacious, probing, cautious, critical, relentless worker, eager to listen and to discuss, risky.
One of those phrases of Karl Popper that scrutinizes the characteristics of reason and wisdom.
7. The increase in knowledge depends entirely on the existence of the disagreement.
Discrepancy builds better arguments and reasoning.
8. You have to be against what you have already thought, against tradition, which you cannot do without, but which you cannot trust.
True to the critical and empirical spirit, Karl Popper makes it clear that tradition should not be inscrutable.
9. Science must begin with myths and with the critique of myths.
In the same sense as the famous quote above.
10. We must only sacrifice ourselves for ideals.
Proselytizing his ideas, Popper was clear about his ethical principles.
11. Science can be described as the art of systematic oversimplification.
His curious conception of science.
12. You can choose any name for the two types of government. Personally, call the type of government that can be eliminated without violence “democracy”, and the other “tyranny”.
Differentiating between democracy and authoritarian forms of government.
13. No matter how many examples of white swans we have observed, this does not justify the conclusion that all swans are white.
This sentence is a clear example of his radical rationalism.
14. No rational argument will have a rational effect on a man who does not want to adopt a rational attitude.
Reflection to apply to daily life and avoid absurd discussions.
15. The game of science, in principle, is never over. Anyone who decides one day that scientific statements do not require any further testing and that they can be considered as definitively verified, withdraws from the game.
Science certainly has an obligation to review every piece of knowledge. It is therefore dynamic by definition.
16. The history of political power is the history of international crime and mass murder.
A disheartening view on international politics and the interests of rich nations.
17. Equality before the law is not a fact but a political demand based on a moral decision. And it is totally independent of the (probably false) theory that all men are born equal.
The ethics that should accompany any legal principle.
18. I can be wrong and you can be right and, with an effort, we can both get closer to the truth.
Discrepancy can move us forward as a society.
19. It is impossible to speak in such a way that one cannot be misunderstood.
Words are always ambiguous, and it is difficult to avoid being misunderstood.
20. The theory dominates the experimental work from its initial planning to the final touches in the laboratory.
Another of Popper’s considerations on the scientific method.
21. For strictly logical reasons it is impossible for us to predict the course of history.
The future is impossible to predict. Not even by means of theories.
22. We don’t know: we can only guess.
In this sentence, Karl Popper shows a certain philosophical idealism.
23. I think that defiance is the only excuse for giving a lecture. This is the only way the spoken word can be better than the printed one.
About his motivation to go out on a limb.
24. That which promises us paradise on earth never produced anything but a hell.
In this sentence, Popper makes clear his anti-religious stance.
25. Equality before the law is not a fact, but a political requirement based on a moral decision. And it is totally independent of the theory – probably false – that all men are born equal.
Great thought that reflects his position on equality, linking it to his notion of ethics.
26. When a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have understood neither the theory nor the problem which it should solve.
Simplicity is often doomed, since truth always has complex edges.
27. Our civilization has not yet fully recovered from the shock of its birth: the transition from a tribal or closed society, with its submission to magical forces, to an open society that liberates man’s critical powers.
A historically rapid transition that has led us to a society for which we have not been biologically prepared.
28. We can become the creators of our destiny when we have stopped thinking like prophets.
Living each moment is what drives us into the future.
29. The world is not made up of things, but of processes.
In constant change, nothing is immutable. A lesson from Karl Popper to keep in mind.
30. All life is about problem solving.
We must therefore adapt to the constant uncertainty.
31. Science is the only human activity in which errors are criticized and corrected.
Without science it would be impossible to distinguish true knowledge from mere talk.
32. There is no history of humanity, only many stories of all kinds of aspects of human life.
The understanding of civilization can only be partially studied.
33. We are social creatures in our innermost being. The idea that one can start anything from scratch, free from the past, or without the intervention of others, could not be more wrong.
Our cultural nature is indisputable, according to Popper.
34. Most never establish what is right or wrong, most can also be wrong.
An argument that some use to question the basis of democratic societies.
35. Our knowledge is necessarily finite, while our ignorance is necessarily infinite.
About knowledge and its limitations.