Liz Williams: How to believe: The effects of Karl Popper’s work are still being felt today both within and beyond the philosophy of science
Opinion: Popper was one of those names that kept cropping up in one of my fav undergrad courses, The Sociology of Science taught by professor Frank Nutch at Trent University, Peterborough.
Nutch himself was a rare bird. When I had a serious problem in graduate studies with another professor who came to Canada from a then communist occupied country, Nutch was the only Trent professor who didn’t back away and cut me off.
When the problematic professor changed his mind about postdoc letters of recommendation near scholarship deadlines, Nutch did his best to patch up the damage by writing a letter for me. But the damage was done. You can’t really hope to be competitive at that level with an undergrad letter in your portfolio.¹
Funnily enough, the professor who came to Canada from the communist country suggested I contact my “Peterborough people” as if that would help. Surely he knew it would not.
The problematic professor was a strange and baffling fellow. And I think Popper’s work – that is, what Popper was suggesting – was way over his head.
Popper fled to New Zealand to escape the rising authoritarianism and fascism in Austria. And I have fled to the internet. The only difference is he got paid and I do not.
Where will we run if the entire globe becomes overrun by authoritarian reprobates high on power yet low in quality?
Something to think about.
¹ All my other relevant graduate professors were in India, which back then was impossible to contact except through snail mail.