The paper is a comparative study of the methodologies of Malthus and Ricardo. Its claims are: (i) economic laws almost always admit of exceptions for Malthus; for Ricardo even contingent predictions allow no exception apart from random temporary variations; (ii) both rely on the prestigious Newtonian paradigm, while interpreting it according to two distinct methodological traditions (the one deriving from MacLaurin, the other from Priestley); (iii) the choice of stressing what happens during intervals or in permanent states leads to opposing (...) definitions of the main problem of economic science in so far as equilibrium is always already given for Ricardo and is never given for Malthus; (iv) their use of the ambiguous notion of "tendency" leaves unclear for both the degree of predictive power with which theories are endowed; (v) what both share is the idea of a natural order and this idea is the source of both shortcomings and endless disagreement. -/- . (shrink)
Although the controversy between Malthus and Ricardo has long been considered to be an important source for the history of economic thought, it has hardly been the object of a careful study qua controversy, i.e. as a polemical dialogical exchange. We have undertaken to fill this gap, within the framework of a more ambitious project that places controversies at the center of an account of the history of ideas, in science and elsewhere. It is our contention that the dialogical co-text (...) is essential for reconstructing the meaning and the evolution of science. In the present paper we try to substantiate this contention by means of a pragma-rhetorical study of this particular controversy. First, we reconstruct, through an analysis of a chunk of the correspondence, a micro-level of specific moves and countermoves which constitute a sequential structure within which also meta-scientific and meta-controversial considerations play a role. We then move to a macro-level of analysis, looking for recurrent patterns of argumentation. Finally, we draw epistemological conclusions on the nature of rationality and progress as manifested in actual scientific controversies. (shrink)
We reconstruct the text, that is, we analyse the development of the discussion between Malthus and Ricardo both in the correspondence and in published works, paying special attention to (a) the use of methodological statements, (b) some pragmatic features of the controversy, (c) considerations pertaining to the meta-level of the controversy (assessments of the status of the controversy, of ways of solving it, etc.); then, we reconstruct the co-text, that is, unpublished papers by each opponent that were not made available (...) to the other, records of exchanges between each of these and third parties, etc.; thirdly, we describe the essential features of the context, focusing on events that influenced the course of the controversy; (iv) we draw lessons from our case study on the role of co-text and context, on pragmatic and semantic interpretation, and on "casts of mind”. (shrink)
We reply to Philippe Depoortère’s paper “On Ricardo’s method: The Unitarian influence examined. Some comments on Cremaschi and Dascal’s article ‘Malthus and Ricardo on Economic Methodology’”. Depoortère asks two questions: (1) was Ricardo’s ‘conversion’ to Unitarianism sincere? (2) did Ricardo follow the methodologies of Priestley and Belsham? His answers are that he was a ‘religious skeptic’ and he was not an ‘empiricist’ like Priestley and Belsham. We reply that the sincerity of Ricardo’s religious beliefs is irrelevant since we start with (...) the evidence that he was exposed for a long time to the intellectual influence of Belsham, primarily in matters of philosophy, and to deny this would imply a negative answer to a different question, namely, did Ricardo attend Unitarian meetings for 15 years? Then we reply that Ricardo inherited Belsham’s version of Newtonian methodology which omitted the fourth rule, that is the most anti-Cartesian and anti-systematic rule, and this has little to do with empiricism but instead with apriorism. (shrink)
Dichotomies are ubiquitous in deliberative thinking, in decision making and in arguing in all spheres of life.[i] Sticking uncompromisingly to a dichotomy may lead to sharp disagreement and paradox, but it can also sharpen the issues at stake and help to find a solution. Dichotomies are particularly in evidence in debates, i.e., in argumentative dialogical exchanges characterized by their agonistic nature. The protagonists in a debate worth its name hold positions that are or that they take to be opposed; they (...) argue against each other’s positions; and they defend their positions from the adversary’s attacks. In some cases, this may lead to a polarization of the debate through treating it as grounded on one or more dichotomies. In others, the contenders may construe the opposition as non-dichotomous and therefore less irreconcilable. Whereas the former attitude, which leads to ‘dichotomization’, is likely to radicalize a debate, rendering it difficult – sometimes impossible – to resolve, the latter, which leads to ‘de-dichotomization’, opens possibilities of solution of the debate other than all out victory of one side and defeat of the other. In addition to its effect on the outcome of a debate, the contenders’ attitude towards dichotomies in the debate’s management has further, important implications. It is intrinsically connected with the typology of debates and their typical argumentative moves. For the appropriateness of one or the other of these attitudes for best capturing the nature of the antagonism that underlies a debate is in fact an indicator of the kind of debate it actually is or is perceived by the contenders to be. Furthermore, such ‘attitudes’ are expressed by the contenders’ preferred choices of argumentative moves; and these, in turn, can be recognized, in a given debate context, as subservient either to a dichotomizing or to a de-dichotomizing strategy vis-à-vis a dichotomy taken to be at the root of the divergence. (shrink)
blandior ratio : C, 34). I will first survey how extensive, albeit usually overlooked, is Leibniz’s concern with these “weaker” forms of reasoning, and how crucial they are for many of his practical and theoretical endeavors. I will then trace back this acute need of Leibniz´s brand of rationalism to the peculiar nature of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR), as opposed to the other basic principle of his philosophy, the Principle of Contradiction (PC). I will present here only the (...) bare bones of the argument, in a sort of extended summary, omitting the textual support as well the references to the relevant secondary literature. (shrink)
We examine the most famous controversy between economists as a means of shedding fresh light on the current debate about economic methodology. By focusing on the controversy as the primary unit of analysis, we show how methodological considerations are but one of a whole set of stratagems strategically employed by each opponent. We argue that each opponent's preference for a particular kind of stratagems expresses his own specific scientific style (within the general scientific and cultural style of an age). We (...) also describe a dynamic dimension of the controversy, independent of the participants' intentions. Such a dimension is analysed in a "cycle" of the controversy, which begins with a well-defined issue and expands to additional topics, without reaching a "solution" to the initial issue. The definition and re-definition of the issue(s) at stake and of the difference between both participants is an essential and recurrent feature of such cycles; the conclusion of a cycle does not imply a real "closure" of the controversy, but only that each opponent has reached a satisfying degree of self-clarification. The controversy, thus, does not yield persuasion -- its ostensible aim. Rather, its "benefit" seems to lie in an unintended result -- clarification and deepening of contrasting approaches to the discipline -- due to its peculiar dynamics. In so far as the history of a discipline requires a reconstruction of such contrasts, it is indispensable for it to take into account the controversies where they emerge, and to view both the positive doctrines and the methodological posture of the contenders as parts of a wider framework, that is a scientific style. (shrink)
_Ever since Descartes singled out the ability to use natural language appropriately in any given circumstance as the proof_ _that humans – unlike animals and machines – have minds, an idea that Turing transformed into his well-known test to_ _determine whether machines have intelligence, the close connection between language and cognition has been widely_ _acknowledged, although it was accounted for in quite different ways. Recent advances in natural language processing, as_ _well as attempts to create “embodied conversational agents” which couple (...) language processing with that of its natural_ _bodily correlates (gestures, facial expression and gaze direction), in the hope of developing human-computer interfaces_ _based on natural – rather than formal – language, have again brought to the fore the question of how far we can hope_ _machines to be able to master the cognitive abilities required for language use. In this paper, I approach this issue from a_ _different angle, inquiring whether language can be viewed as a “cognitive technology”, employed by humans as a tool_ _for the performance of certain cognitive tasks. I propose a definition of “cognitive technology” that encompasses both_ _external (or “prosthetic”) and internal cognitive devices. A number of parameters in terms of which a typology of_ _cognitive technologies of both kinds can be sketched is also set forth. It is then argued that inquiring about language’s_ _role in cognition allows us to re-frame the traditional debate about the relationship between language and thought, by_ _examining how specific aspects of language actually influence cognition – as an environment, a resource, or a tool. This_ _perspective helps bring together the contributions of the philosophical “linguistic turn” in epistemology and the incipient_ _“epistemology of cognitive technology” It also permits a more precise and fruitful discussion of the question whether, to_ _what extent, and which of the language-based cognitive technologies we naturally use can be emulated by the kinds of_ _technologies presently or in the foreseeable future available.shrink)
The man who is seeking to convert another in the proper manner should do so in a dialectical and not in a contentious way ... he who asks questions in a contentious spirit and he who in replying refuses to admit what is apparent ... are both of them bad dialecticians.
If we had a balance of reasons, where the arguments presented in favor and against the case were weighed precisely and the verdict could be pronounced in favor of the most inclined scale ... [we would have] a more valuable art than that miraculous science of producing gold.
Whereas the most visible forms of political colonialism have for the most part disappeared from the planet by the end of the millennium, several of its consequences remain with us. Criticism of colonialism, accordingly, has shifted its focus to its more subtle and lasting manifestations. Prominent among these are the varieties of what came to be known as the ‘colonization of the mind’. This is one of the forms of ‘epistemic violence’ that it is certainly the task of philosophers to (...) contribute to identify and struggle against. ‘Postcolonial’ thinkers have undertaken not only to analyze this phenomenon, but also to devise strategies for effectively combating and hopefully eradicating colonialism’s most damaging aspect – the taking possession and control of its victims’ minds. My purpose in this paper is to contribute, qua philosopher, to both of these undertakings. I begin by trying to clarify the nature of the colonization of the mind and its epistemic underpinnings and the typical reactions to it. Next, I examine examples of these reactions with their corresponding analyses and strategies. The assumptions underlying them reveal certain inherent paradoxes, which call into question the possibility of a full decolonization of mind. I conclude by suggesting an alternative strategy and a series of means to implement it. (shrink)
In spite of the widespread belief that there is (or at least there was) a clearcut and deep opposition between two forms of philosophizing vaguely characterized as 'continental' and 'analytic', it is not easy to find actual examples of debates between philosophers that clearly belong to the opposed camps. Perhaps the reason is that, on the assumption that the alleged 'divide' is so deep, each side feels that there is no point in arguing against the other, for argumentation would quickly (...) be replaced by invective. In this paper I analyse one of the few recent examples of an across-divide debate -the Searle -Derrida polemic. Using a threefold typology of debates, I try to show that, in spite of the violent and sarcastic tone employed by both contenders, there is enough common ground, questioning of not-argued-for assumptions, and serious argumentation (on both sides) to consider this debate more than just an irrational dispute. (shrink)
In this paper, I wish to present and defend the thesis that the impasse at which the philosophy and history of science find themselves in the last couple of decades is due, to a large extent, either to the complete neglect or to a misguided treatment of t he role of scientific controversies in the evolution of science.
It was a tie; the heavenly vote was split right down the middle -- two in favor; two against. At issue -- "Should man be created?" The ministering angels formed parties: Love said, "Yes, let him be created, because he will dispense acts of love"; while Truth argued, "No, let him not be created, for he is a complete fake". Righteousness countered, "Yes, let him be created, because he will do righteous deeds; and Peace demurred, "Let him not be created, (...) for he is one mass of contention". The score was even. Love and Righteousness in favor, Truth and Peace against. What did the Lord do? He took Truth and hurled it to the ground, smashing it into thousands of jagged pieces. Thus he broke the tie. Now, two to one in favor, man was created. The ministering angels dared to ask the Master of the Universe, "Why do You break Your emblem, Truth?" for indeed Truth was His seal and emblem. He answered, "Let truth spring from the earth". (shrink)
Summary Pluralism and monism are the two current views concerning scientific research and language understanding. Between them there is a third, intermediate, view. We take a procedural methodology of science as exemplified in the work of L. Tondl, and procedural linguistics , as exemplified in the work of B. Harrison, to be representative of this third possibility. Procedures are cognitive, linguistic, and physical processes which, through their hierarchical interconnections can generate fruitful mechanisms . These mechanisms are sensitive to context and (...) operate in heuristic and algorithmic ways. Their similar logical structure points towards a profound unified basis for scientific and linguistic activities, thus providing an interesting bridge between what is achieved by a little child talking to his parents, and a creative scientist struggling to interpret the results of his experiments. (shrink)
We describe and analyze an important cognitive obstacle in inter- and intra-community ar-gumentation processes, which we propose to call 'Cognitive Systemic Dichotomization'. This social phenomenon consists in the collective use of shared cognitive patterns based upon dichotomous schemati-zation of knowledge, values, and affection. We discuss the formative role of CSD on a community’s collec-tive cognition, identity, and public discourse, as well as the challenges it raises to reasoned argumentation, and how different approaches to argumentation undertake to face this obstacle to (...) the reasonable debate of issues of public concern. (shrink)
Communication is a crucial component of scientific activity (as of virtually any other domain of human activity, especially in this "communication age" in which we live). As researchers and as citizens, we should all be concerned with the communication of science as well as with communication within science. In this paper, I will deal with one of the key aspects of this topic ג€“ the question whether scientific communication is or should be ג€�transparentג€�. The view that this is or should (...) be the case is often taken for granted both by scientists and the general public. I will challenge this view and suggest that we should learn to live without the illusion that scientific communication is or should be transparent. This idea is closely related, if not derived from, the traditional epistemological conception according to which scientific method is the privileged tool we have for penetrating beyond appearances and discovering the true ג€�nature of thingsג€�, in terms of which all observable phenomena should be ultimately explained. Applying the scientific method should, thus, yield a fully intelligible representation of the world, which in its turn should be transparently communicable. The trouble with this enticing ideal is that it does not correspond to actual practice. Again and again we experience the fact that the ג€�true picture of the worldג€� remains veiled for everyone but a small group of initiated experts in a narrow domain. Is this only a technical problem having to do with the phenomenon of specialization and with the inevitable complexity of the language(s) of science, as it is often suggested? (shrink)
I was in Bucharest for a few days, not long before the fall of Ceaucescu’s regime. The fear, both of the authorities and of the people, which reigned in the city was vividly felt everywhere. To be sure, the communist regime was based on a doctrine that called itself ‘dialectic’. Unfortunately, it was a ‘dialectic’ that had nothing to do with dialogue, with listening to the other, respecting the other, and learning from the other. It assumed that ‘truth’ and ‘justice’ (...) were the absolute monopoly of one side – the side which enforced its monopoly by the sheer force of power. The atmosphere couldn’t but be of repression, since there was no room for alternative ideas, which for the dominant ‘dialectic’ were necessarily wrong. There was no room for argument, debate and persuasion other than brainwashing and the passive acceptance of the ideas in power. The reigning doctrine was the nemesis of dialectic, for it denied its sine qua non: tolerance. Sorin grew up in this atmosphere, where in spite of its oppressive character, he developed a concern for truth, a tolerant and gentle character, and a sense for the fundamental value of rational persuasion. No wonder that he was attracted by dialogue and argumentation, and devoted his research to them – not merely as an object of study, but also as a method of research and a form of life. It is an honor for me, as a member of IADA, the association devoted to the study of dialogue founded by Sorin, of ISSA, the society whose object of study is argumentation, of IASC, the association that recognizes and investigates the essential role of controversy in the growth of knowledge and in the improvement of society, and as a friend, to pay a well deserved tribute to Sorin Stati’s memory and to his achievements. He was one of the pioneers in the contemporary study of argumentation. Although his research in this field focused on the linguistic analysis of argumentative discourse, he did not neglect other approaches. His role in leading to the organization, in July 2002 in Lugano, of a memorable conference where the above mentioned three international associations joined forces with the Università della Svizzera Italiana in an interdisciplinary, cooperative as well as contrastive drive for increasing our understanding of the multi-faceted phenomenon of argumentation, was decisive.. (shrink)
I present and defend the thesis that the impasse at which the philosophy and history of science find themselves in the last couple of decades is due, to a large extent, either to the complete neglect or to a misguided treatment of the role of scientific controversies in the evolution of science. In order to do so, I first provide a preliminary clarification of the impasse to which I refer. I go on to explain why I see the study of (...) controversies as a fundamental step in solving it. I locate controversies within the set of empirical phenomena of the class of ‘polemical discourses’, and I single out the properties of controversies which explain their potential role for solving the impasse. I then show how the extant epistemological options are unable to handle controversies in a satisfactory form, which explains their inability to solve the impasse. I conclude by formulating an essential desideratum for the solution of the impasse. (shrink)
Trois philosophes du 17ème siècle, à son début, vers sa moitié et près de sa fin, ont utilisé la comparaison entre mots et monnaie: Bacon, Hobbes et Leibniz, respectivement. Quoique leurs textes à cet égard soient très semblables, ils emploient cette comparaison pour expliquer des thèses assez différentes sur la nature et les fonctions du langage. Cet article essaye de dégager ces différences, en les rapportant aux différentes philosophies du langage de ces auteurs. Il est aussi suggéré que de telles (...) differences peuvent être symptomatiques des changements qui, d'après M. Foucault, auraient eu lieu au cours du 17ème siècle au niveau de l'«épistémé» occidentale. (shrink)
Geoffrey Lloyd, in his book Cognitive Variations , addresses the puzzle of cognitive diversity vs. cognitive unity of our mental life by analyzing a number of debates related to it. Accounting for the fact that human mental life across cultures both shares many of its fundamental features and differs in many others, no less fundamental ones, apparently cannot but engender a dilemma, as long as only reductionist solutions are considered, for neither radical diversity is reducible to unity nor vice versa. (...) The situation is further complicated by the fact that `division of labor' solutions involving a sort of schizophrenic fragmentation of the mind, are also unlikely, since even the most diverse mental tasks complement each other in what appears to be a seamless unity. In this review article, I undertake to highlight what I take to be the cornerstone of Lloyd's account, namely an approach that rejects the dichotomy `diversity vs. unity' and thus creates an alternative, `pragmatic' path for their essential cooperation-through- opposition. This proposal is supported by an analysis of Lloyd's treatment of several of the debates discussed in the book's chapters, as well as by references to my own work in pragmatics and controversies. (shrink)