David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of the Social Sciences 28 (3):381-399 (1998)
The Myth of the Framework, Popper attacks the doctrine that truth is relative to one's intellectual background. The same collection refers to his "situational analysis." This article explores the implications of both for spatial planning. Spatial planners have to justify proposals. The article first summarizes earlier work on planning methodology evolving around the rationality principle and the implications for it of Popper's work for how to do this. It then discusses the notion of the definition of the decision situation, which flows from this principle. This, of course, implies taking a leaf out of Popper's book where he discusses situational analysis. The article then gives an account of the author's work on Dutch planning doctrine, relating it to the definition of decision situations in planning and confronting it with Popper's strictures against The Myth of the Framework. The conclusion is that, whereas in the sciences that are after explain ing reality in terms of universal laws, Popper's argument holds, in planning it does not. Planning is about the search for the right course of action. In it, Popper's concern with fighting relativism and what he calls "justification" is misplaced. The quality of decisions depends on the position and the concerns of the decision taker. Relativism is in-built and so is the need to justify decisions.
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