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 automaton, and that we are nothing more than small cogs, or sub-automaton
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 and
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: any physicist with sufficiently detailed information 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.
Or, to use a more striking example: if physical determinism is correct, then a completely deaf physicist, who has never heard music in his life, could write all the symphonies and concertos by Mozart or symphonies and concertos by 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 draw black marks on their staff. And our deaf 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 Mozart or Beethoven, but which they would have written if certain circumstances of their lives had been different.
—Had they have eaten, say, lamb instead of chicken and drunk 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] It 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 1965 and 1971. Karl Popper leads an epistemological reflection.
Epistemology: Part of philosophy which has to object to 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 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 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 end defends the second one, the free will of man and his creativity.
Outline for the text commentary Karl Popper, Objective Knowledge
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 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 in other circumstances.
the corrections of the baccalauréat 2014