David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of the Social Sciences 10 (1):25-37 (1980)
At the present time there is an increasing tendency to regard the application of the social sciences to practical affairs as in some way objectionable, and needing to be replaced by a form of social practice which has a different kind of cognitive backing. This criticism seems to me to embody various confusions and misrepresentations. My aim in what follows is to bring these to light. The objectionable form of social practice is often called social technology, and the desirable form 'praxis'. Though 'praxis' is merely a German word for 'practice', taken from the Greek, it has been adopted by various writers, among whom Jurgen Habermas is a conspicuous example, for a more specialized use, for which precedent is said to be found in Aristotle. I wish to show not only that this precedent is questionable, but that the whole distinction between technology and praxis in the social sphere is without foundation.
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