Karl Popper, Objective Knowledge, 2014 Answer Key

The BAC 2014 proposed to the L series as a text commentary an excerpt from Objective Knowledge where Karl Popper attacks determinism.

Karl Popper’s text, Objective Knowledge

I have called physical determinism a nightmare. It is a nightmare
because it asserts that the whole world, with all that it contains, is a gigantic
gigantic automaton, and that we are nothing more than small cogs, or sub-automata
cogs, or sub-automats at best.

It destroys, in particular, the idea of creativity. It reduces to a state of
the idea that, in the preparation of this conference, I used my brain to create a
i used my brain to create something new. What
happened there, according to physical determinism, is that certain parts of my body
parts of my body drew black marks on a white paper, and nothing more
nothing more: any physicist with sufficiently detailed information could have
could have written my lecture thanks to this very simple method:
predict the precise locations where the physical system composed of my body (including
including my brain, of course, and my fingers) and my pen would draw black marks
black marks.

Or, to use a more striking example: if physical determinism
determinism is correct, then a completely deaf physicist, who has never heard
heard music in his life, could write all the symphonies and concertos of Mozart or
symphonies and concertos of Mozart or Beethoven, by means of a simple method, which
would be to study the precise physical states of their bodies and to predict where they would
where they would draw black marks on their staff. And our deaf physicist
physicist could do even better: by studying the bodies of Mozart and Beethoven
Beethoven’s bodies carefully enough, he could write scores that were never actually written by
written by Mozart or Beethoven, but which they would have written if certain
written if certain circumstances of their lives had been different
– had they eaten, say, lamb instead of chicken and drunk tea instead of coffee
tea instead of coffee.

Objective Knowledge, 1972

Correction of the 2014 text commentary series L

Author’s thesis Karl Popper, Objective Knowledge,

In this excerpt, Karl Popper defends an idea:

[Physical determinism] is a nightmare because it asserts that the
world, with all that it contains, is a gigantic automaton

It is this proposition that Popper tries to explain throughout the excerpt
the extract, unfolding all its consequences.

The author Karl Popper and his work La Connaissance

Objective Knowledge gathers texts written for the most part between
between 1965 and 1971. Karl Popper leads an epistemological reflection.

Epistemology: Part of philosophy which has for object
the critical study of the postulates, conclusions and methods of a particular science
considered from the point of view of its evolution, in order to determine its logical
the logical origin, the value and the scientific and philosophical scope

For Karl Popper, it is notably a question of understanding what a science is,
that is to say, from which moment on one can say of a discipline that it is a
is a true science?

See Karl Popper’s ideas on science

But in this extract, it is more about the question of
free will. Is man a machine, all his actions
the result of physical and chemical gears, or does he possess his own
freedom? Popper treats this first hypothesis as a nightmare, and defends the second one, the
and defends the second one, the free will of man and his creativity.

Outline for the text commentary Karl Popper, Objective Knowledge
objective knowledge, 1972

In the first part, the destruction of

→ Physical determinism denies the idea of creation on the part of the
individual, and reduces all movements, all actions of the individual to a
a simple machine, an automaton.

In a second part, physical determinism applied to Karl

→ The example of Popper’s lecture: if a scientist knew
popper’s physical state, he could have rewritten exactly the
same lecture.

In a third part, the example of physical determinism
applied to music

→ Pushed further, the principle of physical determinism establishes that
any person, even a deaf person, knowing perfectly well the physical condition of a
musician such as Mozart or Beethoven, could compose the same music as Mozart or
music as Mozart or Beethoven, or even to compose a music that they would have written
they would have written in other circumstances.

the Answers to the BAC 2014