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)
Theories of explanation in the social sciences vacillate between holism and individualism. This book contends that this has been a consequence of theories of rationality which assume that rationality requires coherent theories to be shown to be true. It claims that traditional explanations place unrealistic demands on individuals and institutions.
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.
William Whewell's views on the philosophy of science were dismissed as incoherent and eclectic when he introduced them in the middle of the 19th century, though some leading contemporaries engaged and even incorporated them. When his ideas were resurrected a century later, they were dismissed as poor induction rather than original thinking. Wettersten (philosophy of science, Mannheim U., Germany) explores why Whewell's impact continues to be felt, and why almost all theorists have had to come to terms with his ideas. (...) He also addresses larger concerns such as whether traditions can be assessed rationally, and whether there is a logic to how they change or can be changed. Six commentaries follow his treatise, and he responds to them. Annotation : 2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com). (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)
Wolfgang Stegmüller, the leading German philosopher of science, considers the status of scientific revolutions the central issue in the field ever since "the famous Popper-Lakatos-Kuhn discussion" of a decade and a half ago, comments on "almost all contributions to this problem", and offers his alternative solutions in a series of papers culminating with, and summarized in, his recent "A Combined Approach to Dynamics of Theories. How To Improve Historical Interpretations of Theory Change By Applying Set Theoretical Structures", published in Gerard (...) Radnitzky and Gunnar Andersson, editors, The Structure and Development of Science, issued in the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science series, volume 59, 1979, pp. 151-86. Popper views scientific revolutions as rational and due to empirical refutations, but there are no refutations in science. Lakatos agrees and assumes that research programs are refutable and their replacements to be revolutions, but the same arguments he launches against Popper apply to him; moreover, applying his philosophy to itself makes it collapse anyway . Kuhn's view was interpreted to be one of scientific revolutions as quite irrational and as arbitrary as mob action. Stegmüller presents revolution in another interpretation of Kuhn - as non-rational, as based on hopes and value judgment but not on facts. He thinks there are big and small revolutions. And he uses his own modifications of J. D. Sneed's famous formal analysis of scientific theory to make his point. After presenting a summary of Stegmüller's ideas in our own way, which seems to us a clarification of presentation with no change of content, especially due to our stressing all differences of opinion, we apply Stegmüller's idea to itself, the way Stegmüller has done with the view of Lakatos, and with similar results. (shrink)
Raimo Tuomola has complained that my critical review of his The Philosophy of Sociality is superficial, that I have not presented, even that I have misrepresented his work, and that I have neglected its virtues, which others have praised. I reject his complaint about the content of my review as unwarranted in an open society, as he demands that I take his work on his own terms. I defend my view of the place of his work in the analytic tradition, (...) my analysis of his work as essentialist and not explanatory, my argument that his analytic method is weak, and my appraisal that the framework he offers for current social scientific research is not needed and not very useful. (shrink)
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.
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)
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)
From the pre-Socratics to the present, one primary aim of philosophy has been to learn from arguments. Philosophers have debated whether we could indeed do this, but they have by and large agreed on how we would use arguments if learning from argument was at all possible. They have agreed that we could learn from arguments either by starting with true premises and validly deducing further statements which must also be true and therefore constitute new knowledge, or that we could (...) start from putative premises and validly deduce false consequences thereby showing that our premises were false. Our aim in this paper is to suggest a third alternative: we can learn from plausible arguments through criticism of such arguments which enable us to discover new problems. (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)
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)
William Whewell was born in 1794. He was the son of a carpenter. In spite of a rather sickly childhood, he was intellectually precocious. At Cambridge his talent was quickly recognized, and the expectations for him were high. He fully overcame the sickliness of his youth to become imposing and robust as a man, adventurous and rambunctious in his intellectual life. He helped to introduce the newer French mathematical techniques as a substitute for the outdated Newtonian ones taught at Cambridge (...) and advocated mathematics as a foundation for good thinking in his research on pedagogy. For a while he was a mineralogist, a subject he studied under Mohs in Germany. He studied the tides and sought to determine the mean density of the Earth by comparing the motions of pendulums on the surface and in the interior of the Earth, in mines. He became a specialist on the architecture of cathedrals, which he inspected while traveling in Europe. He wrote poetry and studied languages. But all these activities brought him no great accomplishment or success. It was only when he turned his hand to the history and philosophy of science that he became a figure of major importance. His place in the history of the philosophy of science has by no means been secure, but his views have always reemerged, even though at various times they have been thoroughly rejected as not even serious. (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)
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)
Critical rationalists cannot reconcile their falibilism with the demand of logic for universality. Popper tried, but failed, to achieve universality in logic without proof. Attempts to find a limited approach to logic as ‘logics of’ have failed to find a coherent critical rationalist alternative. Critical rationalists take Tarski’s logic to be the best of logic today. But Tarski renders logic as close to justification, and thereby universality, as possible. A fallibilist version of Tarskian logic can yield a critical rationalist alternative: (...) It provides rules for solving problems in linguistic contexts, but also discovers mistakes by discovering errors in logical inference. (shrink)
Popper's theory of demarcation has set the standard of falsifiability for all sciences. But not all falsifiable theories are part of science and some tests of scientific theories are better than others. Popper's theory has led to the banning of metaphysical and/or philosophical anthropological theories from science. But Joseph Agassi has supplemented Popper's theory to explain how such theories are useful as research programs within science. This theory can also be used to explain how interesting tests may be found. Theories (...) of rationality may be used to illustrate this point by showing how they fail or succeed in producing interesting and testable hypotheses in the social sciences. (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)
Heutzutage sind die Theorien über ad-hoc-Hypothesen problematisch. Sie sind entweder zu streng und verbieten zu viel, oder sie sind relativ leer. Um eine Erklärung dafür zu entwickeln, werden die Wurzeln der wissenschaftstheoretischen Probleme der ad-hoc-Hypothesen dargestellt. Die in diesem Jahrhundert vorgeschlagenen Theorien über ihre Anwendung werden kritisiert. Ihre Unzulänglichkeit wird auf ihre allzu hohen positivistischen Ansprüche zurückgeführt: Keine Theorie über ad-hoc-Hypothesen kann sie unabhängig von Analysen ihrer Kontexte identifizieren, und keine solche Theorie kann als einziger Maßstab für die wissenschaftlichen Theorien (...) dienen. Die neuen Versuche müssen dem Zusammenhang zwischen verschiedenen Maßstäben für die wissenschaftlichen Theorien einerseits und der erhofften Vermeidung von ad-hoc-Hypothesen andererseits Rechnung tragen. Die neuen Theorien der Problemauswahl bieten gute Möglichkeiten, dieses Ziel zu erreichen, wenn der Entdeckung von neuen Problemen Priorität gegeben wird. (shrink)
I. C. Jarvie interprets Popper's philosophy of science as a theory of the institution of science, explains how the social aspect of his theory developed, and suggests that an updated version of Popper's social theory should be used to study both scientific and nonscientific societies today. Although Jarvie's description of the emergence of Popper's theory suffers because he takes no account Popper's research conducted before Logik der Forschung, his portrayal of Popper's framework overlooks important problems, and his program is by (...) no means new, his essay throws light on the relation between Popper's philosophy of science, his social theory, and his social studies of science. (shrink)
The early research of Karl Popper both in psychology and in philosophy of science is described; its basis for his later breakthroughs in the philosophy of science is explained. His debt to Otto Selz’s thought psychology is thereby detailed. Otto Selz’s philosophy of science is then explained, and its conflict with Popper’s early as well as his later views is portrayed. These studies of the conflicting views of Popper’s early views and Selz’s philosophy of science provide the basis for demonstrating (...) the mistakes that Michel ter Hark has made in claiming that the alleged originality of Popper’s views occurred only in the 1970s and are little more than a rehash of Selz’s alleged evolutionary epistemology. (shrink)
In den 1980er-Jahren war Hans Alberts Lehrstuhl der Ausgangspunkt für meine Versuche, meine Forschung voranzutreiben und eine annehmbare Stelle zu finden. Mit seiner Unterstützung ist es mir gelungen, mein erstes Ziel zu erreichen; denn bis heute habe ich über hundert Veröffentlichungen gemacht, darunter vier Bücher und über siebzig Artikel. Der zweite Wunsch ist nie in Erfüllung gegangen.
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)