I would guess that most people would subscribe to the following method of how knowledge works.
-First, we observe a pattern -> Then we generate a hypothesis based on said pattern > Test it > Accept it or Reject it.

Incidentally, Neil DeGrasse Tyson Tweeted recently something quite akin to this. This is a common misconception. (I have respect for Tyson I just think he is mistaken about epistemology.)

Knowledge does not start from unprejudiced pure observation, there is no such thing. Popper said all observations are theory-laden. To illustrate this idea consider someone telling you to “Observe.” Naturally, your question would be, “Observe what? For what purpose?” Knowledge is not built on naked observations.

So how is it built according to Popper? We begin by identifying a problem then we guess a solution. Then we do our best to refute that guess. We seek out criticisms to our guess and look for methods to falsify it. If we falsify the guess then we guess something different and repeat. If we fail to falsify the guess, we accept it but only tentatively. I say tentatively because even if we fail to falsify a theory, it does not necessarily mean it is true. For example, Newton’s theory of gravity was not falsified for centuries! It was still wrong in the end.

This gets to a core of Popper’s philosophy. Fallibility. According to Popper, we can disprove a theory but never fully prove it. Though we can never know if we have the truth, we can always improve on what we do have via criticisms.

Looking forward to those!

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