The thesis of the present volume is critical and dual. (1) Present day philosophy of man and sciences of man suffer from the Greek mis taken polarization of everything human into nature and convention which is (allegedly) good and evil, which is (allegedly) truth and fal sity, which is (allegedly) rationality and irrationality, to wit, the polar ization of all fields of inquiry, the natural and social sciences, as well as ethics and all technology, whether natural or social, into the (...) totally positive and the totally negative. (2) Almost all philosophy and sci ences of man share the erroneous work ethic which is the myth of man's evil nature - the myth of the beast in man, the doctrine of original sin. To mediate or to compromise between the first view of human nature as good with the second view of it as evil, sociologists have devised a modified utilitarianism with deferred gratification so called, and the theory of the evil of artificial competition (capitalist and socialist alike) and of keeping up with the Joneses. Now, the mediation is not necessary. For, the polarization makes for abstract errors which are simplistic views of rationality, such as reductionism and positivism of all sorts, as well as for concrete errors, such as the disposition to condemn repeatedly those human weaknesses which are inevitable, namely man's inability to be perfectly rational, avoid all error, etc. , thus setting man against himself as all too wicked. (shrink)
Joseph Agassi is a critic, a gadfly, a debunker and deflater; he is also a constructor, a speculator and an imaginative scholaro In the history and philosophy of science, he has been Peck's bad boy, delighting in sharp and pungent criticism, relishing directness and simplicity, and enjoying it all enormously. As one of that small group of Popper's students (ineluding Bartley, Feyerabend and Lakatos) who took Popper seriously enough to criticize him, Agassi remained his own man, holding Popper's work itself (...) to the criteria of critical refutation. Agassi's range is wide and his publications proliik. He has published serious studies in the historiography of science, applied sociology (on Hong Kong with LC. Jarvie), foundations of anthropology, interpretive scientific biography (Faraday), Judaic studies, philosophy of technology (which Agassi pioneered, particulady in distinguishing it from the philosophy of science), as weIl as the many works on the Iogic, methodoI ogy, and history of science. Even as we go to press, Agassi's works are appearing; we append an imperfect and selected bibliography. For Agassi, the test of relevance is whether something is interesting. (shrink)
In our papers on the rationality of magic, we distinghuished, for purposes of analysis, three levels of rationality. First and lowest (rationalitYl) the goal directed action of an agent with given aims and circumstances, where among his circumstances we included his knowledge and opinions. On this level the magician's treatment of illness by incantation is as rational as any traditional doctor's blood-letting or any modern one's use of anti-biotics. At the second level (rationalitY2) we add the element of rational thinking (...) or thinking which obeys some set of explicit rules, a level which is not found in magic in general, though it is sometimes given to specific details of magical thinking within the magical thought-system. It was the late Sir Edward E. Evans-Pritchard who observed that when considering magic in detail the magician may be as consistent or critical as anyone else; but when considering magic in general, or any system of thought in general, the magician could not be critical or even comprehend the criticism. Evans-Pritchard went even further: he was sceptical as to whether it could be done in a truly consistent manner: one cannot be critical of one's own system, he thought. On this level (rationalitY2) of discussion we have explained (earlier) why we prefer to wed Evans Pritchard's view of the magician's capacity for piece-meal rationality to Sir James Frazer's view that magic in general is pseudo-rational because it lacks standards of rational thinking. (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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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.
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)
Patriotism is a form of loyalty. The range of loyalty is from patriotism to friendship. Liberals were often accused of having no sense of loyalty. They usually tend to deny the charge Ã¢â¬â even while refusing to take a loyalty oath. Even the liberal philosopher Sir Karl Popper has claimed (Open Society, i, ch. 10), that liberals can be better patriots than others. 1 find this line of defense erroneous and morally wrong. I find it much nicer, much more honest, (...) to join Martin Buber in his taking Jeremiah as a model because when he felt that capitulation to the enemy is morally justified he recommended just that. Buber, fearful of the effects of patriotism, opposed the foundation of a Jewish state and proposed, instead, a program.. (shrink)
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".
That everyone has some privileged access to some information is trivially true. The doctrine of privileged access is that I am the authority on all of my own experiences. Possibly this thesis was attacked by Wittgenstein (the thesis on the non?existence of private languages). The thesis was refuted by Freud (I know your dreams better than you), Duhem (I know your methods of scientific discovery better than you), Malinowski (I know your customs and habits better than you), and perception theorists (...) (I can make you see things which are not there and describe your perceptions better than you can). The significance of this rejected thesis is that it is the basis of sensationalism and thus of all inductivist and some conventionalist philosophy. (shrink)
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)
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)
Both a Popper biography and an autobiography, Agassi's A Philosopher's Apprentice tells the riveting story of his intellectual formation in 1950s London, a young brilliant philosopher struggling with an intellectual giant - father, mentor, and rival, all at the same time. His subsequent rebellion and declaration of independence leads to a painful break, never to be completely healed. No other writer has Agassi's psychological insight into Popper, and no other book captures like this one the intellectual excitement around the Popper (...) circle in the 1950s and the struggles of the 1960s and 1970s - personal, academic, political, all important philosophically. Agassi's Popper - whether one agrees with it or not - is an enormous contribution to scholarship. This second revised edition includes also Popper's and Agassi's last correspondence and, in a postscript it shows Agassi leafing through Popper's archives, reaching a sort of reconciliation, an appropriate ending to the drama. A must read. Malachi Hacohen, Duke University. (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)
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)
ANTHROPOMORPHISM is an inveterate tendency to project human qualities into natural phenomena—consciously or not. The standard and most important variant of anthropomorphism is animism which sees a soul in everything in nature. Before entering into the role of anthropomorphism in the history of science, let us consider a few important and usually neglected logical aspects of the idea.
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.
Dirk Koppelberg is an ambitious new arrival to take notice of. His first book, "Die Aufhebung der analytischen Philosophic: Quine als Synthese von Carnap und Neurath" (Suhrkamp, 1987, pp. 416) is extremely detailed and comprehensive. In succinct 300 pages or so (plus 40 pages of notes and 30 pages of (not too successful) bibliography) he manages to touch on W. V. Quine's diverse concerns, to synthesize them, to relate them to their..