The ills of psychiatry are currently diagnoses with the aid of deficient etiologies. The currently proposed prescriptions for psychiatry are practically impossible. The defective part of the profession is its leadership which in its very defensiveness sticks to the status quo, thereby owning the worst defects and impeding all possible cure. The current discussions of the matter are pretentious and thus woolly. The minimal requirement from the profession as a whole and from each of its individual members is that they (...) be not defensive and clear. In this vein I offer here preliminary discussions of propriety, of responsibility and of science. (shrink)
ספר ויקרא, או תורת כוהנים, נראה היום פחות מעניין מאשר ספרי-קודש אחרים, כי הוא ספר מצוות - הוא כולל כארבעים אחוז מכל תרי"ג המצוות - ואף במידה רבה מצוות שאינן בתוקף מאז חורבן בית-המקדש. אך יש בו עניין, שכן הוא מוכר כספר השלם ביותר מבחינת סגנונו ותכנו, ואולי אף בכך שעריכתו כנראה עתיקה ביותר - לא לדעת דון יצחק אברבנאל, שכן הוא לא הטיל בספק כי תורה נתנה למשה מפי הגבורה - אמנם לא בסיני אך בכל-זאת למשה מפי הגבורה. החוקרים (...) המתעלמים מדעה זו.. (shrink)
The symposium on Francesco Guala’s Understanding Institutions was thought provoking. Five critical papers took issue with Guala’s reconciliation of the game-theoretical view of institutions and the rule-governed view. We offer some critical commentary that adopts a different perspective. We agree that institutions are central to social life and, thus, also to the social sciences; they are also prior to and more fundamental than individuals. We add some historical points on the ways previous philosophers thought about institutions, and we come at (...) this from a philosophical viewpoint that is not that of analytic philosophy but rather that of Popper’s critical rationalism. In that framework, we espouse an idea of the relation between philosophy and the philosophy of science that is different from that of Guala and his commentators, and we recommend a reformist philosophy of institutions that is neither radical nor traditionalist and that makes better sense of the institution of the scholarly symposium than do... (shrink)
Science uses its firmest conclusions to arrive at new ones which may well completely destroy these, previously firmest, conclusions. The perceptive may notice that when the previously firmest conclusions are demolished we may remain in the dark with no conclusion worth replacing it with. But only when we replace it with a firmer conclusion can we speak of a bootstrap operation rather than of a refutations. Often, to conclude, the ad hoc nature of a fact-like statement is rooted in the (...) theoretical background against which it is couched; given a different theoretical background and it fully falls into place, as the expression goes. If an observation report is at once a corollary of our scientific theory, then it is unproblematic. If it conflicts with our scientific theory, either we reject the theory or try to find an excuse for not rejecting it. When, however, a small theory which well integrates in our theoretical background is attacked by a well corroborated fact-like theory and all its defences are refuted, then a revolution may be under way. Such events may be rare, but they are the more interesting ones. At times we alter our whole theoretical outlook around a rather fact-like theory which then gets refuted. We then look silly from any viewpoint except that which takes the process to be a bootstrap operation! (shrink)
Line 1: The statement on line one is false. Line 2: All statements on line two are false. p and not-p Line 3: All statements on line 3 are true, or all of them are false. p and not-p Line 4: The statement on line 4 is false, or (p and not-p). Line 5: The statement on line 5 is true if and only if (p and not p). Line 6: All statements on line 6 are false. p. Line 7: (...) All statements on line 7 are false. Not-p. Line 8: The statement on 9 is true. Line 9: The statement on line 8 is false. Line 10: The statement on line 11 is true if and only if the statement on line 12 is true. Line 11: The statement on line 10 is true and p. Line 12: The statement on line 10 is true and not-p.. (shrink)
This Companion centers on the fictitious social contract that can be used to justify liberalism. As justification, the theory of the contract either fully justifies a regime as liberal or it fully condemns it as illiberal. This conflicts with the common recognition that liberalism is a matter of degree. John Rawls is taken as the leading light; yet at best the Companion manages to picture him as well-intended but hopelessly confusing.
Summary There is a traditional reluctance among methodologists to study the ever increasingly important phenomenon of research-projects, research-project evaluations, etc. The reason for this is that projects are embedded in programs and programs in intellectual frameworks, or conceptual frameworks, or metaphysical systems. It sounds dogmatic to judge the product of research by a reference to a metaphysical system. Yet, first of all, it is not so dogmatic if judgment can go both ways, if we have competing systems at work, and (...) if what we assess is not the outcome of a project but the existing assessments of projects prior to their implementation. Indeed, one of the most obvious things to do is to compare our assessments of projects before and after their implementations. To this end some further theorizing is required. (shrink)
Legitimating the use of metaphysics in scientific research constituted a farreaching methodological revolution, invalidating the inductivist demands that science be guided by empirical information alone. Thus, science became tentative. The revolution was established when pioneering historians of science, Max Jammer among them, exhibited the working of metaphysics in scientific research. This raises many problems, since most metaphysical ideas are poor as compared with scientific ones. Yet taking science to be the effort to explain facts in a comprehensive manner, makes some (...) metaphysics unavoidable, and presents the better metaphysics as the possible frameworks within which older scientific theories may be reinterpreted and improved and newer ones may be developed. (shrink)
Basic research or fundamental research is distinct from both pure and applied research, in that it is pure research with expected useful results. The existence of basic or fundamental research is problematic, at least for both inductivists and instrumentalists, but also for Popper. Assuming scientific research to be the search for explanatory conjectures and for refutations, and assuming technology to be the search of conjectures and some corroborations, we can easily place basic or fundamental research between science and technology as (...) a part of their overlap. As a bonus, the present view of basic or fundamental research as an overlap explains the specific hardship basic research workers encounter. (shrink)
JOSEPH AGASSI 1. Sir Karl Popper has offered two different theories of scientific progress, his theory of conjectures and refutations and corroboration, as well as his theory of verisimilitude increase. The former was attacked by some old-fashioned inductivists, yet is triumphant; the latter has been refuted by Tichy and by Miller to Popper’s own satisfaction. Oddly, however, the theory of verisimilitude was developed because of some deficiency in the theory of corroboration, and though in its present precise formulation it was (...) refuted, Popper still holds it in general terms, and I think he still hopes to find a better precise formulation of it. My aims in the present note are to pin-point the deficiency of Popper’s theory of corroboration and to use this for a precise formulation of verisimilitude increase acceptable to him. For my part, however, I see the situation in a different way, as will be indicated at the end of this note. (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.
The tu quoque argument is the argument that since in the end rationalism rests on an irrational choice of and commitment to rationality, rationalism is as irrational as any other commitment. Popper's and Polanyi's philosophies of science both accept the argument, and have on that account many similarities; yet Popper manages to remain a rationalist whereas Polanyi decided for an irrationalist version of rationalism. This is more marked in works of their respective followers, W. W. Bartley III and Thomas S. (...) Kuhn. Bartley declares the rationalist's very openness to criticism open to criticism, in the hope of rendering Popper's critical rationalism quite comprehensive. Kuhn makes rationality depend on the existence of an accepted model for scientific research (paradigm), thus rendering Polanyi's view of the authority of scientific leadership a sine qua non for scientific progress. The question raised here is, in what sense is a rationalist committed to his rationality, or an irrationalist to his specific axiom ? The tradition views only the life?long commitment as real. Viewing rationality as experimental open?mindedness, we may consider a rationalist unable to retreat into any life?long commitment ? even commitment to science. In this way the logic of the tu quoque argument is made irrelevant: anyone able to face the choice between rationality and commitment is already beyond such a choice; it is one thing to be still naïve and another ? and paradoxical ? thing to return to one's naïveté. (shrink)
presents Heidegger as a devout mystic who viewed the Nazi Party as the sacred vessel of a divine messageeven though, the author adds, his religion is secular and so it has no divinity and no immortal soul. Rickey sees him as a utopian. This makes some sense: the unique in the Shoah involves the unique descent of a highly cultured, enlightened nation to the rock bottom of barbarism. Rickys text belies his effort to exonerate Heidegger. Key Words: Rickey Heidegger (...) secular religion barbarism. (shrink)
Positivists identify science and certainty and in the name of the utter rationality of science deny that it rests on speculative presuppositions. The Logical Positivists took a step further and tried to show such presuppositions really no presuppositions at all but rather poorly worded sentences. Rules of sentence formation, however, rest on the presuppositions about the nature of language. This makes us unable to determine the status of mathematics, which is these days particularly irksome since this question is now-since Abraham (...) Robinson-one that mathematicians cannot ignore. Since mathematics is the paradigm of a logical discourse, logic must offer a system adequate enough to serve mathematics. This fact makes it difficult to avoid making question-begging moves in both mathematics and logic. We must therefore view the rationality of logic as partial and hope it is stepwise improvable. The theory of rationality thus turns to be the major presupposition of logic, and one which has ample metaphysical background to it. The very supposition, basic to all logic, that language is divisible into form andcontent is under suspicion-mathematics perhaps belongs to neither. (shrink)
Error and Inference discusses Deborah Mayo’s theory that connects the reliability of science to scientific evidence. She sees it as an essential supplement to the negative principles of critical rationalism. She and Aris Spanos, her co-editor, declare that the discussions in the book amount to tremendous progress. Yet most contributors to the book misconstrue the Socratic character of critical rationalism because they ignore a principal tenet: criticism in and of itself comprises progress, and empirical refutation comprises learning from experience. Critical (...) rationalism should be recommended in the critical spirit, not as dogma. (shrink)
Abstract The central thesis of Karl Popper's philosophy is that intellectual and political progress are best achieved by not deferring to dogmatic authority. His philosophy of science is a plea for the replacement of classic dogmatic methodology with critical debate. His philosophy of politics, similarly, is a plea for replacing Utopian social and political engineering with a more fallibilist, piecemeal variety. Many confuse his anti?dogmatism with relativism, and his anti?authoritarianism with Cold War conservatism or even with libertarian politics. Not so: (...) he showed a clear preference for the ideal of truth over relativist complacency, for cosmopolitanism over nationalism, and for democratic control over unbridled capitalism. (shrink)
Two suggestions are at the back of the present talk. First, toleration is obligatory, not criticism. So do not try to make people critically-minded: do not force them in any way to try to offer or accept criticism, to learn to participate effectively in the game of critical discussion. If they refuse, then they are within their right. Also, they will easily ad vance excuses for their refusal; admittedly some of these are unreasonable, but not all. Instead of trying to (...) make people critically-minded, try to help them become criticallyminded if and when they request help on this matter, but not otherwise. My second suggestion is that a simple, inconclusive, criterion should be used to distinguish with ease between proper and improper criticism — not by reference to validity, since proper criticism may turn out to be invalid, and some of the worst diatribes may inadvertently include valid criticism. This should hardly be expected of diatribes, and these are recognizable by their display of poor appreciation their target. (This was noted in a recent review by Stefano Gattei of the Italian edition of the Lakatos -Feyerabend correspondence: it largely concerns Popper, yet it displays boorish disrespect to him.) So much for my messages here. I also wish to present here the following ideas. (shrink)
Dissertation without tears By Joseph Agassi Tel-Aviv University 1. Perfectionism is the loss of the sense of proportion. 2. Perfectionism in education is pedantry and obstruction. 3. Pedantry expels traditional writing techniques. 4. There are many ways to write a scientific study. 5. The best and easiest writing formula is the dialectic. 1. Perfectionism is the loss of the sense of proportion.
Economics is a science - at least positive economics must be. And science is in part applied mathematics, in part empirical observations and tests. Looking at the history of economics, one cannot find much testing done before the twentieth century, and even the collection of data, even in the manner Marx engaged in, was not common in his day. It is true that economic policy is an older field, and in that field much information is deployed for the purpose of (...) prescribing a course of action. But this is not to say that the information procured for that purpose is either based on observation or has been tested. In the seventeenth century some alchemists and economists hoped to boost the economy by manufacturing gold, others feared inflation; and the British Parliament legislated against manufacturing gold. David Hume proved in the eighteenth century - quite a priori - that doubling the quantity of gold will only double the price of each commodity and he thus set things at rest for a while. Later the question was opened again when Marx, for example, showed historically how the gold robbed from the Americas started Europe's boom. Yet the theory - the quantity theory of money, as it is called - which Hume proved a priori, is still contested and still hardly tested to economists' satisfaction: is the price level fixed mainly by the amount of available money? Some economists answer yes, others no. (shrink)
Stephen Turner complains about weaknesses of Robert K. Merton's teachings without noticing that these are common. He puts down Merton's ideas despite his innovations, on the ground that they are not successful and not sufficiently revolutionary. The criteria by which he condemns Merton are too vague and too high. Merton's merit is in his having put the sociology of science on the map and drawn attention to the egalitarianism that was prominent in classical science and that is now diminished. Key (...) Words: American sociology • intellectual frameworks • Merton • middle axioms • time lag. (shrink)
Newell wanted a theory of cognition to abide by some explicit criteria, here called the Newell Test. The test differs from the Turing Test because it is explicit. The Newell Test will include the Turing Test if its characterization of cognition is complete. It is not. Its use here is open-ended: A system that does not pass it well invites improvement.
The pair democreteanism-Platonism (nothing/something is outside space-Time) differs from the pair nominalism-Realism (universals are/are not nameable entities). Nominalism need not be democretean, And democreateanism is nominalist only if conceptualism is rejected. Putnam's critique of nominalism is thus invalid. Quine's theory is democretean-When-Possible: quine is also a minimalist platonist. Conceptualists and realists agree that universals exist but not as physical objects. Nominalists accept universals only as "facons de parler".