Document: The Popper Newsletter (4) 1/2

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Albert, Hans. "Critical Rationalism: The Problem of Method in Social Sciences and Law," Ratio Juris, Vol.1, No.1 (March 1988): 1-19.

The author characterizes the model of rationality devised by critical rationalism in opposition to the classic model of rationality and as an alternative to this. He illustrates and criticizes the trichotomous theory of knowledge which, going back to Max Scheler, is received in a secularized version by Habermas and Apel, also under the influence of the hermeneutic tradition of Heidegger and Gadamer and of the so-called "critical theory" of Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno. The author criticizes historicism as it expects to be an alternative to naturalism and not to make use of the method based on scientific laws. The author proposes as an example of technological social science the model developed in economics starting from Adam Smith. With regard to legal theories, natural law is rejected because of its sociomorphic cosmology. It is proposed that legal science as social technology has two parts. One part aims at efficient interpretations of valid law (for the space-time region concerned) and a second part aims at the construction of efficient norms for the modification of valid law by legislation.

______. Georg Simmel und das Begründungsproblem. Ein Versuch der Überwindung des Münchhausen-Trilemmas, in Wolfgang L. Gombocz, Heiner Rutte und Werner Sauer (Hrsg.), Tradition und Perspektiven der analytischen Philosophie: Festschrift für Rudolf Haller (Wien: Verlag Hölder-Picher-Tempsky), 258-264

______. "Hermeneutics and Economics. A Criticism of Hermeneutical Thinking in the Social Sciences," Kyklos, vol. 41 (1988), 573-602. I. Toward a Hermeneutical Economics? II. The Problem of Understanding: Historism and Hermeneutics; III. The Problem of Understanding: Hermeneutics and Factual Science; IV. Ludwig von Mises and Theoretical Economics; V. Mises, Weber and the Hermeneutical Turn: The Austrians at the Crossroads.

______. "Hermeneutik als Heilmittel? Der ökonomische Ansatz und das Problem des Verstehens," Analyse & Kritik 11(1989), S.1-22.

Social scientists usually presuppose that individual behaviour is meaningful and understandable. At the same time they aim at nomological explanations. This is criticized by some economists who recommend a hermeneutical turn to overcome the crisis in economic and sociological thinking. The author tries to show that it is counterproductive to turn to hermeneutics to solve social science problems, and that it is misleading to use Max Weber in support of this claim because Weber's ideas are incompatible with hermeneutics à la Heidegger.

______. "Der Mythos des Rahmens am Pranger: Anderssons Antwort auf die wissenschaftsgeschichtliche Herausforderung," in Otfried Höffe (Hrsg.), Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung Band 44(1990) Heft 1, S.85-97.

______. "Die Wertfreiheitsproblematik und der normative Hintergrund der Wissenschaften," in Hans Lenk und Matthias Maring Hrsg.), Wirtschaft und Ethik (Stuttgart: Philipp Reclam, 1992), 82-100. I. Max Weber und der Werturteilsstreit; II. Logische und erkenntnistheoretische Aspekte der Wertproblematik; III. Methodologische Aspekte der Wertproblematik; IV. Zum Problem der praktischenAnwendung der Wissenschaft; V. Zur Kritik des Zweck-Mittel-Denkens in den Sozialwissenschaften; VI. Zur Kritik der "kritischen Theorie";

______. "Wissenschaftliche Erkenntnis und religiöse Weltauffassung," in Audretsch, Jürgen (Hrsg.), Die andere Hälfte der Wahrheit: Naturwissenschaft, Philosophie, Religion (München: C.H. Beck, 1992), pp. 113-133. 1. Die Idee der reinen Religion als Reaktion auf die Aufklärung; 2. Die moderne Philosophie und er "Mythos des Rahmens"; 3. Über den metaphysischen Gehalt religiöser Auffassungen; 4. Zum Problem der rationalen Beurteilung der religiösen Weltauffassung; 5. Zum illusionären Charakter der religiösen Weltauffassung.

______. "Zur Kritik der reinen Jurisprudenz Recht und Rechtswissenschaft in der Sicht des kritischen Rationalismus," in Internationales Jahrbuch für Rechtsphilosophie und Gesetzgebung: Demokratie und Rationalität (Wien: Manzsche Verlags- und Universitätsbuchhandlung, 1992), pp. 343-357. I. Zentrale Annahmen des kritischen Rationalismus; II. Das europäische Recht und der Charakter der europäischen Jurisprudenz; III. Die Jurisprudenz als dogmatische Disziplin; IV. Rationale Jurisprudenz als Sozialtechnologie; V. Politische Ökonomie als rationale Jurisprudenz.

Aleksandrowicz, Dariusz. "Die Argumente gegen den Rationalismus. Zur Geschichte seiner Kritik im Hegelianismus und Liberalismus," Acta Universitatis Wratislaviensis, No. 1107 (Wroclaw 1989), 183-191.

Eidlin, Fred. "Poppers ethischer und metaphysischer Kognitivismus (Warum Wörter manchmal wichtig sein können)," in Salamun, Kurt, ed. Karl R. Popper und die Philosophie des Kritischen Rationalismus. Zum 85. Geburtstag von Karl R. Popper. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1989, pp. 157-176.

______. "Uses of History as Legitimation in Soviet-type Regimes," Bohemia, Vol.30, No.1: 135-138.

Attempts to fill the gap between the apparent low levels of legitimacy of the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the relative stability they appeared to enjoy. Explores the missing sources of obedience to authority that filled the gap between official communist theory of legitimacy and the actual amount of obedience to authority which Communist party regimes in Eastern Europe have been able to command. These include, i.a., such extra-legitimate sources of obedience to authority, such as fear, habit, and existential pressures of the system. It is argued that these alone are not enough to explain the obedience enjoyed by these regimes. Also shows the influence of several other sources of legitimate authority such as respect for the regime's power, ability of the regime to satisfy various needs, and identification of the communist regime with the state, its laws, history, and symbols.

______. "Popper und die demokratische Theorie." In Kurt Salamun (ed.), Moral und Politik aus der Sicht des Kritischen Rationalismus (Amsterdam: Rodopi Verlag, 1991) [in Russian as] "Karl Popper i teorie demokratii." Also in Russian in Filosofskiye nauki (Moskow) no.5 (1990): 69-80.

______. "The Power and Powerlessness of the Communist Power System." Published as "Mosch i bezsiliye v kommunisticheskoy sistemy vlasti," in Polis (Moscow) 1991 No.6.

Despite the centrality of power to thinking about Soviet-type politics, however, the nature of power in such regimes has, strangely, remained largely unproblematic. Power has tended to be viewed as something that is self-evident rather requiring of explanation. Over the years, both empirical research and critical reflection how revealed gaping holes in this once standard picture of power in Soviet-type regimes. It has become clear that significant aspects and domains of society either remain outside the control of Soviet-type regimes or are only somewhat affected by them, that the power of general secretaries, CC praesidia secretariats, and other ruling institutions is significantly constrained, and that there is some kind of pluralism or dispersion of power in such regimes. The present paper explores this view of power in Soviet-type regimes, inquiring into the nature and limits of the power of the party apparat and power groups. It seeks to provide an integrated view of the power system, consistent with the evidence that the apparat and power groups actually are powerful in certain ways, but which is also consistent with evidence of the weakness and significant areas of paralysis of the power system.

______. "Czechoslovakia: The Phoney Occupation 'Normalization in the Wake of the 1968 Intervention," Bohemia, Band 29, Heft 2 (1988): 262-279.

For seven months after the invasion of Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968, not only did the reformist leadership remain in power, virtually intact, but many aspects of the reform movement which had disturbed the Soviets actually continued to develop, almost as if there had been no military intervention. Despite persistent pressures, the Soviets could not seem to break the influence of the reformists and bring about the kind of "normalization" of the situation they desired. Even today, in "normalized" Czechoslovakia, evidence continues to appear, suggesting that the "Prague Spring" remains a live problem for the regime. Moreover, most of the important problems facing the Czechoslovak regime today - nearly 20 years after the 1968 intervention are those for which the reformist of 1968 were seeking stable solutions. This paper seeks to understand the legacy of the "Prague Spring" by examining the struggle under pressure to preserve its gains during the seven months after the invasion. Various constraints on the Soviets are examined, which prevented them from bringing about a quicker and more satisfactory (from their point of view) "normalization" of the political situation.

______. "Updating Weber: Ideal Type Analysis and Popper's Situational Logic." Polish Sociological Bulletin, No.2 (1988).

Attempts to repair and develop Max Weber's ideas on ideal type analysis by a sympathetic, critical confrontation with Karl Popper's ideas on the methodology of the social science - particularly with Popper's method of "situational analysis." The principal problem with Weber's explicit methodology of ideal types, it is argued, is that because of his instrumentalism, Weber does not, give an adequate account of the mechanism by which these types can be tested and corrected against reality. Popper's situational logic is presented as a closely related, "realistic" variant of ideal typical analysis, which, it will be suggested, can help correct and complete Weber's methodological program by giving an account of the linkage between reality and the constructs of science.

______. "Przeznaczenie czy dzialanie: Marks, Popper i historia," Edukacja Filozoficzna, No. 3 (Autumn 1987): 121-138 (Polish version of "Call to Destiny or Call to Action: Marx, Popper, and History")

Attempts a critical assessment of Popper's critique of Marx's alleged "historicism." The first section shows how, despite the serious criticism's of Marx's theoretical doctrines, Popper expresses substantial agreement with Marx and great sympathy for both his ideals and theoretical achievements. When criticism, praise, and endorsement of are tallied up, perhaps as much is left of Marxism as many who today call themselves Marxists would want to defend. The second section clarifies Popper's main charge against Marx, namely that he inadvertently acted as a kind of intellectual Pied Piper, misleading "scores of intelligent people into believing that hist-orical prophesy is the scientific way of approaching social problems," thus contributing to the devastating influence of the historicist method of thought within the ranks of those who wish to advance the cause of the open society. The third section turns to the question of whether or not Marx actually believed in inexorable laws of history, concluding that, while Marx undeniably claimed to have discovered such laws, he never stated any. Thus, though his writings may not on balance put forward a "mechanical and simplistic view of history according to which all societies were predestined to go through a single, inexorable sequence of stages," several features of them strongly suggest and support historicist interpretation. The fourth section identifies problems in Popper's critique of Marxism: a) a possibility that the causal influence Popper's seems to attribute to Marx's ideas may itself have an historicist flavor; b) that Popper does not convincingly demonstrate a responsibility of Marxism for the downfall of democracy and rise of totalitarianism, and that his arguments in this regard contain inconsistencies and mistakes; c) that doctrines identified by Popper as necessarily pernicious can be and often have been tamed in practice; d) that it is not clear that Marx was in fact a moral positivist as Popper claims; and e) that historicism, by Popper's own testimony is rampant in the entire tradition of Western political thought, even within the ranks of liberal political thinkers. The fifth and final section zeroes in on what I think are Popper's most important criticisms of Marx's theory: a) its deceptive means of selling revolution as the only way to bring about real change in society, excluding any concern at all for social technology; and b) those of its features that provide it with a hardy resistance to correction by experience and criticism.

______. "Radykalne i Rewolucyjne Watki w Popperowskiej Mysli Spoleczno-Polityczne," Studi Nauk Politycznych, No.4 (Autumn 1988) (Polish version of "The Radical, Revolutionary Strain in Popper's Social and Political Theory," Et Cetera, Journal of the International Society for General Semantics, 42(3): 283-298.

______. "Ethical Problems of Imperfect Knowledge in the Policy Sciences," Public Administration Quarterly, Vol.11, No.1 (Winter 1988): 397-418; also in Edward M. Portis and Michael B. Levy (eds.), Handbook of Political Theory and Policy Science (Greenwood Press, 1988).

Many decisions affecting the public welfare are based upon "expert knowledge." And policy scientists often have to decide what the best knowledge is and whether or not it is good enough to apply, even though the policy sciences, as sciences, have no authority to determine what is good or bad for society. Even where the policy scientist is intent on regarding duty to the public welfare as paramount, the problem remains of determining just what the public welfare is. Solutions that are expedientand tend to simplify reality are seductive, and people tend to confuse what exists both with what always will be and with what ought to be. The real problem, I try to suggest, lies in the tendency of the human mind to reify whatever appears to by real and whatever comfortably organizes reality, and then to hold tenaciously to such reifications, believing that they cannot be changed and that we, therefore, have no moral obligation to try to change them.

______. "The Breakdown of Newspeak," Political Communication and Persuasion, Vol.5, No.4: 225-236. Also in Russian as "Krusheniye Novoyaza", in Kara-Murza (ed.) Totalitarizm' kak istoricheskiy fenomen (Moscow: Filosofskoye Obshestvo, 1989) and (Moscow: Novosti, 1990): 351-368.

Many attempts have been made to create Newspeaks. But in light of what is now known about such attempts, it is clear that not even the most successful of them have come anywhere near the ideal of Orwell's projection. Rather than these Newspeaks becoming increasingly fine-tuned, comprehensive instruments of totalitarian control as suggested in 1984, quite an opposite development has taken place. The peoples upon whom Newspeaks have been imposed have learned to live with and manipulate these artificial languages, and their effectiveness has tended to decline rather than increase. The present paper explores this degeneration of Newspeak, examining some of the assumptions about language, man, and society underlying Orwell's picture of the future. It makes explicit the theory of totalitarian control based on language that is implicit in 1984, and then shows that several fundamental assumptions of this theory are patently utopian while others are highly implausible. Apart from its rich insights into the dynamics of totalitarianism, even the utopian elements of 1984 help us to understand better the limitations as well as the possibilities for totalitarian control in contemporary society by placing in relief the conditions that would have to be met for such control actually to be realized. Setting forth these conditions makes clear why these conditions could never be met in reality.

Eidlin, Fred and Richard Appelbaum. "Social Science, Social Engineering, and Public Policy" (With Richard Appelbaum), in O.P. Dwivedi, ed., Public Policy and Administrative Studies, Vol.4, 1988 (Guelph, Ontario: Department of Political Studies.

Attempts to take stock of problems bound up with the application of reason and social scientific knowledge to public problems, to ask what role reason and social science can and should play in the formulation and execution of public policy, and to inquire into the nature and sources of disillusionment with rational debate and social science in contemporary society. The first part explores four categories of problems inherent in the application of reason and science to public policy - problems of knowledge, problems of rational discourse, ethical problems, and practical problems. The remainder of the paper deals with the question of what role rational debate and social science can and should play in the formulation and execution of public policy. Drawing upon arguments derived from Popper, the authors defend the ideal of a theory-guided approach to public policy that takes account of the kinds of problems identified earlier in the paper, while avoiding the pessimistic, anti-science, anti-rationalist, anti-theoretical conclusions often drawn in response to these problems.

Lafleur, Gérald. "Qui a peur des hypothèse fausses?", Philosophy of the Social Sciences, Vol. 18, No. 3 (September 1988), 387-393. 1. Friedman et la "Thèse de Fausseté" a. Expliquer et prédire; b. Subsumer; c. Réviser; 2. Friedman et la Conception Poppérienne de la Vérisimilarité.

Middelmann, Hans. "Towards an Open Society," The Condenser (Tongaat Hulett Group Ltd., South Africa).

______. "New Structures," Leadership, Vol. V (1986).

Pickel, Andreas. "Never Ask Who Should Rule: Karl Popper and Political Theory," Canadian Journal of Political Science, 22, 1 (March 1989), 83-105.

The philosophy of Karl Popper has rarely been examined with respect to its fruitfulness and relevance for political theory. While his contributions to the philosophy of science may appear to be of only marginal significance for the fundamental concerns of political theory, his own forays into the field, particularly in The Open Society and Its Enemies, have been polemical in tone and explicitly political in motivation. This article reexamines Popper's critique of the theory of sovereignty and his own approach to political theory by employing a largely neglected element of his critical approach, namely his problem-oriented method.

Radnitzky, Gerard. "L'oggetivismo e la seduzione del relativismo epistemologico," in Rosaria Egidi, ed., La Svolta Relativistica Nell'Epistemologigia Contemporanea (Milano: Franco Angeli, 1988) ISBN 88-204-2991-8.

______. "Wozu Wissenschaftstheorie? Die falsifikationistische Methodologie im Lichte des Ökonomischen Ansatzes," in Paul Hoyningen-Huene und Gertrude Hirsch (Hrsg.), Wozu Wissenschaftsphilosophie? Positionen und Fragen zur gegenwärtigen Wissenschaftsphilosophie. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1988. ISBN 3-11-011472-0

van Straaten, Zak. "Philosophical method," South African Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 8, No. 1 (1989): 1-7.

In this article the author argues that the method of conjecture and refutation proposed by Popper for science is, as a method, effective and sufficient for philosophy. The method is effective in those fields of philosophy where truth is fundamental to the first order theories, and to the philosophical theory, such as epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, philosophy of psychology, etc. If this is true then most of what Rorty says about method and the nature of philosophy in Philosophy and the mirror of nature is false. Sceptics such as Wittgenstein are also refuted.

A. Ziolkowski. "Further Thoughts on Popperian Geophysics - The Example of Deconvolution," Geophysical Prospecting, 30 (1982), 155-165.

Popper's demarcation criterion should be applied to all our theories in geophysics to ensure that our science progresses. We must expose our theories to tests in which they stand some risk of being refuted. But if we have a theory which has norivals it may be difficult in practice to devise a test in which the theory risks being refuted conclusively.

The example of the deconvolution problem for seismic data is considered for the case where the source wavelet is unknown. It is shown that all our existing theories of deconvolutions are not scientific i Popper's sense; they are statistical models. We cannot compare these models in a way that is independent of the geology, for each model requires the geology to have a different set of statistical properties. Even in our chosen geology it may be extremely difficult to determine the most applicable model and hence determine the "correct" deconvolution theory.

It is more scientific to attempt to solve the deconvolution problem (a) by finding the source wavelet first, deterministically, or (b) by trying to force the wavelet to be a spike - that is, by devising a "perfect" seismic source. A new method of seismic surveying, which has been proposed to tackle the deconvolution problem by the first of these approaches, is based on a theory which is open to refutation by a simple Popperian test. Since the theory makes no assumptions about the geology, the test has equal validity in any geology.

It pays to frame our theories in such a way that they may easily be put at risk. Only in this way will we establish whether we are on firm ground. The alternative is simply to take things on trust.

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