Who is Imre Lakatos?June 25, 2021
Imre Lakatos (November 9, 1922 – February 2, 1974) was a contemporary philosopher of science who became famous for his research programs on scientific development. Lakatos is also known for his objections to the classical understanding of science.
According to Lakatos, who criticizes the positivist ideal and understanding of science, there is no final confirmation and final falsification in science. Science can be wrong. According to Lakatos, who says that there can be no absolute truths and absolute mistakes in science, there are no universal, rational and universal methods that will guarantee the truth and guarantee the accuracy.
Therefore, science cannot have a precise and unchangeable method. In this respect he influenced Paul Feyerabend; it is known that his famous book No to the Method was a product of his correspondence with Lakatos. Karl Popper followed a unique path in the debates on the quality, validity, method and theoretical status of science that took place between Thomas Kuhn and Feyerabend.
In this way, Lakatos tries to prove that science progresses rationally. Although there are both anti-Popper and anti-Kuhn propositions, Lakatos has appeared rather as a philosopher of science seeking some kind of synthesis between them.
Although he was a student of Popper, he criticized his understanding of science based on the principle of falsifiability. The originality of his ideas was driven by the search for a proper synthesis in the debates between Popper and Kuhn. He claimed that his science always coexists with anomalies, and that it is not possible to confirm or falsify a particular theory at any given moment. A scientific theory already tries to prove these particular anomalies with ad hoc assumptions, so being able to reject a particular theory is not as easy as one might think.
According to him, the validity of a particular theory than the other or previous theory is related to the fact that this new or different theory can explain more. This form of approach establishes a continuity relationship between theories. Accordingly, there is a certain extent to which theories cover each other, even when they appear to contradict each other. A kind of accumulative understanding of knowledge is put forward by Lakatos, but no explanation is offered for Kuhn’s assumptions that invalidate this possibility of accumulation. On the other hand, Lakatos envisages that scientific observation should be made in an objective way, thus enabling empiricist understandings of knowledge. This appears to be an imprecise proposition on the subject of positivism and empiricism, which has been harshly criticized.
It can be said that Lakotes seeks synthesis on rationalism and empiricism, and although he criticizes them at this point, they are closer to Popper than Kuhn. In this sense, Lakatos can be included in the Popperian circle, which he criticized for contradicting some of Popper’s views and his own basic arguments. His attempts seem to be aimed at negating Kuhn’s assumptions where they are most important. Lakatos also objected to Kuhn’s concept of paradigm with his accumulative understanding of knowledge. Feyerabend would later criticize Lakatos’s propositions from different points of view, taking Kuhnian relativism to extremes. Unlike Lakatos, Feyerabend argues that theories in science arise by negating each other. Feyerabend criticizes his rationalist oriented ideas as “realist rationalism”.