Popper, on truth and safety…

It is not just the opinion that is important but also learning how someone reached their conclusion. Karl Popper (1963), philosopher and a few other things, discussed the importance of knowing how we develop our beliefs and discovering motivations behind the thinking.  Public or societal opinion can be irrational and if allowed to go unchallenged can give rise to such movements as Hitlerism.  truthU.pngPopper (1963) determined in so many words, the moral framework of liberalism is a counterbalance to such structures as Nazism.  He believed the answer to public opinion is the western rationalist tradition of critical discussion.  He was pro-argument for truth’s sake for as Popper noted, “the truth is hard to come by.”   The great Winston Churchill (1940) stated:

“People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick up themselves and continue on.”

Rationalism supports social justice. Rationalism according to Popper (1963) essentially negates any formative thinking of utopia due to its implication to violence. Being an ideal state of society, Utopia does not allow for change or differences of opinion and ideology. A utopia is a form of rationalism, but according to Popper, it is the wrong form.  The correct way of rationalism is arguments and discussions of our own and others thoughts and opinions provoking refutation and conjecture.  Without rationalism, violence occurs to create the result thinking of utopias boundaries and parameters and the maintain them.  Nazism. Profoundly Popper (1963) states, intellectual development has outrun our moral development.  This requires attention.  He believed there has not been a time in history that humans have however been given the level of dignity that society has lent at the time of his contemplation.  According to his rationalistic belief system, men are equal and are to be respected as such.
The potential for over-analyzing and risk-taking when deciding on whether or not to report information is a present concern.  Being considered gate-keepers, is a challenging place to exist.  Reputation is paramount in the mental health world.  communitysafetypic.gifPeople rely on the ability of the clinician to create a safe space by which they open themselves up to vulnerable existences.  No one wants to be the individual bringing an accusation up to the licensing board, but in the end, the importance of the safety in our field weighs more heavily than that of whether or not the alleged offender continues to feel fond of the accuser.  Popper (1963) discusses the importance of truth and though he was not discussing the role of a therapist, in the mental health world truth is crucial.  Reporting an individual for doing wrong, being a gatekeeper for society or even the mental health world is a weighty responsibility, and one that each clinician takes on when accepting licensure and each person carries as a member of a community.  If clinicians do not hold truth and reporting of offenses in high regard, people get hurt.  If community members do not maintain safety and security of truth and accountability in high regard, people get hurt.  Responsibility, integrity, vulnerability, and gatekeeping are paramount frameworks for the care provided by humans for humans deserving of dignity and protection.  Society has an obligation to its members to care for and protect one another.  There is a guard for creating safety for those with wounds needing healing and clinicians that may prey either intentionally or unintentionally on them.


Popper, K. (1963). Conjectures and refutations: The growth of scientific knowledge. New York, NY: Routledge Classics.

 

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