Karl Popper’s 35 Best Quotes

Karl Popper (1902 – 1994) was an Austrian philosopher, teacher and writer of Jewish descent, later nationalized British.

Popper is still studied in social science faculties throughout the West as one of the most prolific and profound thinkers of the twentieth century. His work, which covers all forms of political, philosophical and sociological analysis, was characterized by the analysis of their experiences in the two world wars at the beginning of the century.

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Table of Contents

Karl Popper’s best famous quotes

Agnostic and anti-nationalist, Popper’s work includes titles such as “Open Society and its Enemies” or “The Logic of Scientific Research”. His social theories and thoughts are always at the heart of the analysis of the dynamics of society.

In this article we are going to put together the best quotes from 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, it is an indispensable condition for living at least humanely.

The foundations of democracy, according to Karl Popper.

2. In the name of tolerance, we must claim the right not to tolerate the intolerant.

A play on words that hides a great truth.

3. Anyone who is unable to speak clearly should remain silent until they can.

If you are not able to express yourself properly … you better keep practicing until you get it.

4. The open society is a society in which men have learned to criticize taboos to some extent, already basing their decisions on the authority of their own intelligence.

Reflection 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 omnipotent, it is a tenacious, hesitant, prudent, critical, implacable worker, eager for listening and discussion, risky.

One of those quotes from Karl Popper that delves into the characteristics of reason and common sense.

7. The increase in knowledge depends entirely on the existence of disagreement.

Divergence builds better arguments and reasoning.

8. We must be against what has already been thought out, against tradition, which we cannot do without, but which we cannot trust.

Faithful to the critical and empirical spirit, Karl Popper specifies that tradition should not be impenetrable.

9. Science must begin with myths and with criticism of myths.

In the same sense as the famous quote above.

10. We just have to sacrifice ourselves for ideals.

A proselyte of his ideas, Popper was clear on his ethical principles.

11. Science can be described as the art of oversimplification.

His curious conception of science.

12. You can choose any name for both types of government. Personally, call the type of government that can be suppressed without violence “democracy”, and the other “tyranny”.

Differentiate 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 on a daily basis and avoid absurd discussions.

15. The game of science, in principle, never ends. Whoever decides one day that scientific statements no longer require contrast and that they can be considered definitively verified, withdraws from the game.

Science certainly has an obligation to review each of its knowledge. Therefore, it is dynamic by definition.

16. The history of political power is the history of international crime and mass murder.

A discouraging view of 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 this is totally independent of the (possibly false) theory that all men are born equal.

The ethics which must accompany any legal principle.

18. I could be wrong and you might be right, and with some effort we can both get closer to the truth.

Differences can move us forward as a society.

19. It is impossible to speak in such a way that it cannot be misinterpreted.

Words are always ambiguous and it’s hard to keep them from misunderstanding us.

20. Theory dominates the experimental work, from the initial planning to the final touches in the laboratory.

Another consideration of Popper on the scientific method.

21. For strictly logical reasons, it is impossible for us to predict the course of history.

The course is impossible to predict. Not even through theories.

22. We don’t know: we can only guess.

In this sentence, Karl Popper gives examples of a certain philosophical idealism.

23. I think the challenge is the only excuse there is for giving a lecture. This is the only way the spoken word can be better than the printed one.

About his motivation to go to the gym.

24. What heaven promises us on earth has never produced anything other than hell.

In this sentence, Popper clearly explains his anti-religious stance.

25. Equality before the law is not a fact, but a political demand based on a moral decision. And this is totally independent of the – probably false – theory that all men are born equal.

Great thought which takes its position on equality, linking it to its notion of ethics.

26. When a theory appears in front of you as the only possible one, take it as a signal that you have not understood either the theory or the problem it should solve.

Simplicity is often doomed to failure, because truth always has complex limits.

27. Our civilization has not yet fully recovered from the shock of its birth: the transition from tribal or closed society, with its submission to magical forces, to an open society that unleashes the critical powers of the house.

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 stop thinking like prophets.

Living every moment is what pushes us towards the future.

29. The world is not made of things, but of processes.

In perpetual change, nothing is immutable. A lesson from Karl Popper to keep in mind.

30. All life is a solution of a problem.

Therefore, we have to adapt to 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 gossip.

32. There is no history of mankind, there are 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 the depths of our being. The idea that we can start from scratch, free from the past, or without the intervention of others, could not be more false.

Our cultural nature is unquestionable, according to Popper.

34. Most never say what is right or wrong, most can also be wrong.

An argument that some use to question the foundations of democratic societies.

35. Our knowledge is necessarily finite, while our ignorance is necessarily infinite.

On knowledge and its limits.

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