Popper’s Faith in Reason

In the Critical Rationalist group on Facebook there is an interesting discussion about Popper’s claims that faith in reason were not themselves rational.

Here is the relevant quote from Popper (that didn’t make it into the discussion unfortunately):

But this means that whoever adopts the rationalist attitude does so because he has adopted, consciously or unconsciously, some proposal, or decision, or belief, or behaviour; an adoption which may be called ‘irrational.’ Whether this adoption is tentative or leads to a settled habit, we may describe it as an irrational faith in reason. So rationalism is necessarily far from comprehensive or self-contained.

Irrationalism is logically superior to uncritical rationalism. …

For there are other tenable attitudes, notably that of critical rationalism which recognizes the fact that the fundamental rationalist attitude results from an (at least tentative) act of faith — from faith in reason. Accordingly, our choice is open. We may choose some form of irrationalism, even some radical or comprehensive form. But we are also free to choose a critical form of rationalism, one which frankly admits its origin in an irrational decision (and which, to that extent, admits a certain priority of irrationalism.)

Karl Popper from Open Society and Its Enemies, Vol 2, p. 231

I felt like this was a productive conversation with interesting points made on all sides. I think it’s worth a look.

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