Social realism and social idealism: Two competing orientations on the relation between theory, praxis, and objectivity
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Inquiry 21 (1-4):271 – 311 (1978)
Although the opposition between realism and idealism is exhibited in their different assumptions on objectivity, in the field of social theory, John Anderson's social realism and Jürgen Habermas's social idealism are united in their rejection of positivism's separation of theory from praxis. Social realism's agreement with social idealism's critique of Popper's ?positivism?, on logical, methodological, ethical and ontological grounds, does not mean, however, a dissolution of the conflict between these two traditions. Indeed, social idealism's and social realism's rejection of the fact/value dichotomy and synthesis of theory and praxis take different forms. Accordingly, social idealism advances a prescriptive ethic and rejects objectivity whilst social realism advances a descriptive ethic, and accepts objectivity. The strength of social realism, as an objective basis upon which positivist sociology might be reconstructed, lies in its refutation of social idealism. Through immanent critique, social idealism is shown to rest on an ontological mistake, a mistake of synthesis, a subjective mistake, and a substantive mistake
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References found in this work BETA
K. R. Popper (1966). Conjectures and Refutations. Les Etudes Philosophiques 21 (3):431-434.
Jürgen Habermas (1978/1971). Knowledge and Human Interests. Heinemann Educational.
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Edwin B. Holt, Walter T. Marvin, William Pepperrell Montague, Ralph Barton Perry, Walter B. Pitkin & Edward Gleason Spaulding (1913). The New Realism: Coöperative Studies in Philosophy. Philosophical Review 22 (1):57-65.
John Arthur Passmore (1970/1969). Philosophical Reasoning. London,Duckworth.
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