Extremists who have been well educated in science are quite common, but nevertheless puzzling. How can individuals with high levels of scientific education fall prey to irrationalist ideologies? Implicit assumptions about rationality may lead to tremendous and conspicuous developments. When correction of social deficits is seen as a pressing problem, it is quite common that individuals conclude that some religious or political system contains the all-encompassing answer, if only it is applied with sufficiently high standards. Implicit assumptions about rationally high (...) standards often demand consistency, system and justification. The strict application of these standards to political and/or religious systems leads quite readily to extremism. J. L. Talmon has shown how the rationality of the Enlightenment led to intolerance, dictatorship and torture. The Enlightenment view of rationality can also encourage irrationalist ideologies and extremism: it leads individuals to conclude that various religions and/or political systems contain all encompassing answers, if only they are systematic, coherant and justified. Alternative theories of science and rationality, which view rationality as critical, partial, and progressive, and which seek to improve imperfect standards, can help avoid the unintended support of extremism rendered by established views of rationality. Unfortunately such theories meet enormous resistance: they call into question well-established canonical doctrines. (shrink)
Popper's theory of the attraction of closed societies conflicts with his theory of research: the former sees rational thought as contrary to man's nature, whereas the latter sees it as an innate psychological process. This conflict arose because Popper developed a theory of the movement from the closed societyHeimatto civilized society, which sees civilized society as a burden, before he adapted Selz's view of directed thought processes as problem solving, which sees rationality as natural. Rejecting the earlier view and retaining (...) the latter one opens up possibilities for better explanations of closed societies and better means of combating them. Key Words: closed society Popper Selz problems institutions. (shrink)
Tenure should not be judged on its ability to promote whistle-blowing. Because the process of getting tenure may weed out those who might later need it, reform is called for. Reform of tenure must take into account not only the Salieri-effect, but also Thomas Kuhn's popular philosophical attack on independent thought and the tendency towards the use of minimal standards, resulting from the professionalization of research, to block work which is more than minimal. Reform of various institutions to encourage autonomy (...) is needed so that those who receive tenure use it for its intended purpose. (Published Online February 8 2007). (shrink)
Whether Popper's philosophy will be used widely enough to shape the philosophy of science in the future will determine what his role in the history of the philosophy of science will be. The choice is that between the quest for deeper understanding of science and society, on the one hand, and the maintenance of old and comfortable views, on the other. Although in the past comfort has normally won out, progress has been made by dissidents such as Maimon and Whewell. (...) If the philosophy of science remains progressive, Popper will have the same kind of success. (shrink)
Bernard Lavor and John Kadvany argue that Lakatoss Hegelian approach to the philosophy of mathematics and science enabled him to overcome all competing philosophies. His use of the approach Hegel developed in his Phenomenology enabled him to show how mathematics and science develop, how they are open-ended, and that they are not subject to rules, even though their rationality may be understood after the fact. Hegel showed Lakatos how to falsify the past to make progress in the present. A critique (...) based on normal standards of fairness and honesty finds this argument an attack on rationality. The similarity of the methods Lakatos used as a Stalinist politician and those he used as a philosopher are pointed out. The Hegelian interpretation of his philosophy is an excuse for his misdeeds. Key Words: Lakatos Popper Agassi research program historiography. (shrink)
Philosophers have tried to explain how science finds the truth by using new developments in logic to study scientific language and inference. R. G. Collingwood argued that only a logic of problems could take context into account. He was ignored, but the need to reconcile secure meanings with changes in context and meanings was seen by Karl Popper, W. v. O. Quine, and Mario Bunge. Jagdish Hattiangadi uses problems to reconcile the need for security with that for growth. But he (...) mistakenly insists that all problems are mere contradictions and artificially separates rigid from flexible aspects of meanings. In order to resolve the conflict we must (1) replace the quest for rigid terms with techniques for improvement, (2) use plausible arguments to uncover confused meanings, (3) use frameworks to choose problems and to regulate meanings, and (4) employ a bootstrap approach that uses frameworks to improve meanings and refined meanings to improve frameworks. (shrink)
This article discusses the following: (i) The acceptability of diverse styles of rationality suggests replacing concern for uniqueness with that for coordination, (ii) Popper's lowering of the standard of rationality increases its scope insufficiently, (iii) Bartley's making the standard comprehensive increases its scope excessively, (iv) the pluralist view of rationality as partial (i.e., of Jarvie and Agassi) is better, but its ranking of all rationality eliminates choice of styles, (v) styles diversify the standards of rationality, (viii) rationality is not merely (...) a matter of style, (vi) (vii) diversity raises new, interesting problems, allowing diversity permits reconciling differences better than does the absent unique standard, and (ix) cultural heritage and rationality are complementary. (shrink)
The question whether attempts to vindicate induction should be abandoned in favor of (other) problems of rationality is pressing and difficult. How may we decide rationally when standards for rationality are at issue? It may be useful to first know how we have decided in the past. Whewell's philosophy of science and the reaction to it are discussed. Whewell's contemporaries mistakenly thought that only an inductivist research program could produce an adequate theory of rationality. But this very move violated their (...) own standards of rationality. We should now avoid making the same mistake again. We should return to Whewell's rejected proposal to make the philosophy of science historical and seek thereby to improve rational practice. (shrink)
The nineteenth-century appraisal of Whewell's philosophy as confused, eclectic, and metaphysical is still dominant today. Yet he keeps reappearing on the agenda of the historians and philosophers of science. Why? Whewell continues to be a puzzle. Historians evade the puzzle by deeming him to have had no serious philosophy but some interesting ideas and/or to have been socially important. Menachim Fisch's recent study offers promise of a new appraisal. But Fisch's account leads back to the puzzle. Fisch poses the question (...) well, promises a new answer, but does not provide one. The puzzle will remain until the strength of Whewell's turn away from empiricist problems to Kantian ones has been appreciated. (shrink)
The problem of how to handle interesting but ignored thinkers of the past is discussed through an analysis of the case of Ludwik Fleck. Fleck was totally ignored in the ?30s and declared an important thinker in the 70s and ?80s. In the first case fashion ignored him and in the second it praised him. The praise has been as poor as the silence was unjust. We may do such thinkers more justice if we recognize that intellectual society is fickle, (...) that we cannot make amends in many cases, but that we can do such thinkers justice by treating them critically ? even if this means explaining away any impact they might have had. If we wish to be autonomous and independent of fashion, we must abandon efforts to use the making of amends the occasion for making intellectual society seem fairer than it is. (shrink)
Summary The importance of the problem of how to integrate psychology and methodology was rediscovered by Oswald KÃ¼lpe. He noted that Wundt's psychology was inadequate and that a new methodology was needed to construct an alternative. KÃ¼lpe made real progress but his program turned out to be quite difficult: he had no appropriate method for integrating the two fields. August Messer tried to fill the gap but failed. The problem was largely dropped due to poor methods at hand for studying (...) it but remained important due to Popper's methodology and de Groot's psychology at least. We may now more effectively return to it by using a bootstrap method. (shrink)
Philosophers wanted commonsense to fight skepticism. They hypostasized and destroyed it. Commonsense is skeptical--Bound by a sense of proportion and of limitation. A scarce commodity, At times supported, At times transcended by science, Commonsense has to be taken account of by the critical-Realistic theory of science. James clerk maxwell's view of today's science as tomorrow's commonsense is the point of departure. It is wonderful but overlooks the value of the sense of proportion.
This essay points out that Popper's theory of the objectivity of science is ambiguous: it is not clear whether it provides a guarantee of correct evaluations of theories or only a means of uncovering errors in such evaluations. The latter approach seems to be a more natural extension of Popper's fallibilist theory and is needed if his learning theory is adopted. But this leads to serious problems for a fallibilist theory of science.