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Comment: Getting the War News Straight: The Actual Situation in the Philosophy of Science

  • David Braybrooke (a1) and Alexander Rosenberg (a1)
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1 One might distinguish between weak exchanges, in which a philosopher or philosophers in the one camp read and commented upon writings that appeared in the other camp, without being noticed there or commented upon in turn; and strong exchanges, in which the other camp replied. There have been very few exchanges even of the weak sort, though Jürgen Habermas's rather comprehensive readings in English-speaking philosophy, as reflected for example in his Für Logik der Sozialwissenschaften (Frankfurt, 1970; the principal essay was published first in 1967 as a beiheft of the Philosophische Rundschau), deserve to be counted. In France, some philosophers of the structuralist school have been turning to writings in English-speaking philosophy, but not in a hostile mood: they cite Carnap, for example, with some favor. (Cf. the reference to Carnap in Alain Badiou's review article on Althusser, in Critique, Paris, 23, No. 240 [Mai, 1967], 438–467, at p. 450.) Antipositivism is not the latest news from the continent.

2 Indeed, the products of some of these thinkers were cited by positivists as examples of literal nonsense. See, for instance, Carnap, Rudolf, “The Elimination of Metaphysics through Logical Analysis of Language,” in Logical Positivism, ed. Ayer, Alfred J., (Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1959) (Carnap's essay was originally published in 1932) and Marhenke, , “The Criterion of Significance” in Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, 1950.

3 See, for instance, Carnap, Rudolf, The Continuum of Inductive Methods (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952) and The Logical Foundations of Probability (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.) These works summarize and extend work given currency by Carnap in articles over several previous decades.

4 See, for instance, in Schilpp, P. A., ed., The Philosophy of Rudolf Carnap (LaSalle, Ill.: Open Court, 1963), articles by Ernest Nagel, Hilary Putnam, John Kemeny, and Arthur Burks; SirPopper, Karl, The Logic of Scientific Discovery (London: Hutchinson, 1959); Salmon, Wesley, The Foundations of Scientific Inference (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1968), for a simple account and criticism. Achinstein's, Peter “Confirmation Theory, Order and Periodicity,” and “Variety and Analogy in Confirmation Theory” in Philosophy of Science, 30 (1963), 17–35 and 207221, respectively, present examples of very technical objections.

5 Hempel, Carl G., Journal of Symbolic Logic, 8 (1948), 122–43.

6 Mind, 54 (01 1945), 1–26, 97121.

7 See, for instance, Feyerabend's, Paul K.Problems of Microphysics” in Frontiers of Science and Philosophy, ed. Colodny, Robert (Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University Press, 1962); Explanation, Reduction, and Empiricism” in Minnesota Studies (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1962), 3, 2897; Realism and Instrumentalism” in The Critical Approach to Science and Philosophy, ed. Bunge, Mario (Glencoe: Free Press, 1964); How to be a Good Empiricist” in Delaware Seminar in Philosophy of Science, 2 (1962) and Problems of Empiricism,” Part I in Beyond The Edge of Certainty, ed. Colodny, Robert (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1965), and Part II in The Nature and Function of Scientific Theories, ed. Colodny, Robert (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1970).

8 See, Hanson, N. R., Patterns of Discovery (Cambridge: At the University Press, 1965), and Concept of the Positron (Cambridge: At the University Press, 1963).

9 See Hempel, and Oppenheim, , “Studies in the Logic of Explanation,” Philosophy of Science. 15 (1948), 135175. This conviction seems to underlie adequacy condition R3.

10 See, for example, Hempel, , “Geometry and Empirical Science,” and “On the Nature of Mathematical Truth,” American Mathematical Monthly, 52 (1945), respectively, 7–17, and 513556.

11 See Hempel's, Fundamentals of Concept Formation in Empirical Science (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952).

12 Hempel, , Revue Internationale de Philosophie 11 (01, 1950), 4163.

13 Hempel, , Proceedings of The American Academy of Arts and Science, 80 (07, 1951), pp. 6177.

14 See Two Dogmas of Empiricism” in Van Orman Quine, Willard, From a Logical Point of View (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1953), pp. 2046.

15 Hempel, , Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 2 (1958), pp. 3798, iv., sec. 7.

16 Hempel, , Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 4 (1969), pp. 142163.

17 Miller, , “Positivism, Historicism and Political Inquiry,” American Political Science Review, this volume, this number, p. 800. Such a claim may play some part in arguments which lead to conclusions like the ones Hempel now espouses. But Miller fails to catalogue the precise roles it might play. And, in Hempel's case such a claim was not the product of any “historicist” thinking. Furthermore there is no essential connection between denials of the existence of sense-data and any of the views mentioned above; and positivists generally considered problems of the existence of sense-data immaterial to their program, practically from the outset of the movement.

18 Miller, p. 800.

19 Miller, p. 800.

20 See references above, note 7.

21 See Wittgenstein, Ludwig, Philosophical Investigations, trans. Anscombe, G. E. M. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1953), for example. Sect. 18, p. 8, and Sect. 23, pp. 11–12.

22 From Shapere, Dudley, “Meaning and Scientific Change,” Mind and Cosmos, ed. Colodny, Robert (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1966), pp. 4185.

23 See, for instance, Scheffler, Israel, Science and Subjectivity (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1967).

24 We owe this point to Walton, Kendall, Conceptual Schemes: A Study of Linguistic Relativity, a Cornell doctoral thesis in 1967, available from University Microfilms. Walton's, thesis and a slim volume on Categorial Frameworks by Körner, Stephan (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1970) are the two most notable recent treatments of the basic, but curiously neglected question, “In just what ways can conceptual schemes differ?”

25 Van Orman Quine, Willard, “Two Dogmas of Empiricism,” in his From a Logical Point of View (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1953; 2d ed., 1961), pp. 2046, esp. p. 42ff. Austin, J. L., “A Plea for Excuses,” in his Philosophical Papers, ed. Urmson, J. O. and Warnock, G. J. (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1961), pp. 123152, esp. p. 133.

26 Cf. Achinstein, , Concepts of Science (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1968); Shapere, “Meaning and Scientific Change,” and others.

27 Miller, p. 805.

28 Kuhn, Thomas, “Logic of Discovery or Psychology of Research?” in Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, ed. Lakatos, Imre and Musgrave, Alan (Cambridge: University Press, 1970), p. 6.

29 Kuhn, , “Reflections on My Critics,” in Lakatos, and Musgrave, , p. 232.

30 See, for example, Bohr, Niels, Atomic Theory and the Description of Nature (New York: Macmillan, 1934), and Causality and Complementarity,” Philosophy of Science, 4 (07, 1937), pp. 289298; Born, Max, The Natural Philosophy of Cause and Chance (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1949); Heisenberg, Werner, The Principles of the Quantum Theory, trans. Eckhart, Carl and Hoyt, Frank C. (Chicago: University Press, 1930), The Physicist's Conception of Nature, trans. Pomerans, Arnold J. (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1958), and Philosophical Problems of Nuclear Science, trans. Hayes, F. C. (New York: Pantheon, 1952); Landé, Alfred, “From Dualism to Unity in Quantum Mechanics,” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 10 (05, 1959), 1624; Margenau, Henry, “Reality in Quantum Mechanics,” Philosophy of Science, 16 (1949), 287302; and Conceptual Foundations of Quantum Theory,” Science (01 26, 1951), 95100, Schrödinger, Erwin, “Die Gegenwärtige Situation in der Quantenmechanik,” Natürwissenschaften, 1935.

31 Now published as Foundations of Science (New York: Dover, 1957).

32 See Simon, Herbert A., Models of Man (New York: Wiley, 1957); Organizations (with March, James G.) (New York: Wiley, 1958); and (as a further example) Simon's, article, “Some Strategic Considerations in the Construction of Social Science Models,” in Mathematical Thinking in the Social Sciences, ed. Lazarsfeld, Paul F. (Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1954), pp. 388415.

33 It is fair to say that the contributors to the Storing collection (Storing, Herbert J., ed., Essays on the Scientific Study of Politics [New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1962]) did associate their criticism with particular studies, though with particular studies by Simon and other behavioralists rather than with contrasting particular studies of their own.

34 See Simon's article in the Lazarsfeld collection, cited in footnote 32 above; and Francis, Wayne L., Legislative Issues in the Fifty States: A Comparative Analysis (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1967), p. 34ff.

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American Political Science Review
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  • EISSN: 1537-5943
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