Inductivism in 19TH Century German Economics

In Friedrich Stadler (ed.), Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook. Springer. pp. 273--291 (2004)
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In his The Poverty of Historicism 1 K.R. Popper and before him F. Kaufmann2 distinguish two broad classes of epistemological and methodological positions held in the social sciences: Antinaturalistic positions and pronaturalistic positions. These positions are distinguished with respect to their attitude regarding the applicability of the methods of the natural sciences, or rather what the representatives of the anti and pronaturalistic positions assume to be the method of the natural sciences. According to Popper and Kaufmann the representatives of antinaturalistic positions hold that the methods of the natural sciences can not be applied in the social sciences, whereas the representatives of the pronaturalistic positions have the opposite view. This of course raises the question what views the representatives of the anti and pronaturalistic positions embrace with respect to the methods of the natural sciences. It is interesting to note, however, that Popper in his The Poverty of Historicism, indicates those views only briefly, the reasons presumably being the special tasks and aims he set himself in that analysis. These are primarily to show the disastrous political and social consequences of a false social science methodology and the invalidity of the ideas of historical necessity and that of laws of historical development. But it is well known that Popper analysed and discussed the methods and the philosophy of science with great rigour and acumen in his other books and articles and that he triggered a philosophical revolution in that field.3 Before Popper the prevailing



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