The problem of idealization in empirical sciences is very rarely taken up in works concerned with the methodology of those sciences. It seems to be common knowledge that in advanced natural sciences references are made to concepts such as “perfectly rigid body,” “material point,” “perfect gas,” etc., but it remains a fact that the most important methodological concepts, concepts which have determined the present-day form of the philosophy of science, have been advanced without regard to the peculiarities of the procedure (...) mentioned above. And yet a moment's consideration suffices to raise doubts as to Carnap's physicalism and/or Popper's falsificationism if we just realize the trivial and commonly known truth that empirical sciences resort to idealizationism. For how are we to imagine a reduction of idealizational concepts to observation terms? And how are we to imagine that theorems which include idealizational concepts imply observation statements which refute, or at least are at variance with, those theorems? But it is a fact that such doubts have neither been raised by the authors of the conceptions mentioned above, nor have they been raised against them. (shrink)
Contents: Preface. - Introduction. - Science as a caricature of reality. - Three methodological revolutions. - The method of idealization. - Explanations and applications. - Truth and idealization. - A generalization of idealization. - References.
The present paper is intended to take up the basic issue in Marxist epistemology: does the development of human cognition include mechanisms that ensure the attainment of, or approximation to, the absolute truth?But to take up this issue we have to define the concept of absolute truth. This is why the paper begins with comment on the assumptions we adopt. This is followed by explanations of the concept of the absolute truth and that of relative truth and some of derivative (...) concepts, too. Section 3 is concerned with the problem of whether the absolute truth is attainable, and with the role played in the process by the correspondence principle, which is reconstructed in a specified way. (shrink)
The paper addresses the problem of the delay of the social sciences with respect to the natural sciences. It is argued that there are no special differences between them from a methodological point of view. The methodology of both can be understood in terms of the idealizational conception of science. Nor is the subject-matter the source of the problems. It is argued that it is the social placement of the social sciences within wider communities that is responsible for the delay.
According to the commonsensical model of educating researchers, young researchers must first acquire the knowledge achieved thus far and then solve new problems by developing applications of the accepted theory. This model, which presupposes a positivist theory of science, is incapable of explaining why the major breakthroughs in science have been carried out by young researchers. On the idealizational view of science, it becomes clear that commonsensical model must be rejected and replaced with an alternative, according to which the primary (...) duty of young researchers is to revise the existing theories. It is the young researchers who are usually creative enough, ignorant enough, and exhibit a sufficient degree of nonconformism, to be capable of developing really new scientific theories. (shrink)
The peculiarity of Marx's investigation method is the use of idealization, i. e. idealizing assumptions are introduced, the laws, being in force under these assumptions, are being established, and then these assumptions are being removed with the simultaneous modification of the law. This method has not been recognized in the contemporary methodology because it assumes the essentialist vision of reality while contemporary methodology developed from the phenomenalism which negates the differentiation between essence and experience.
Contents: INTRODUCTION. Kazimierz TWARDOWSKI: The Majesty of the University. I. Zygmunt ZIEMBI??N??SKI: What Can Be Saved of the Idea of the University? Leszek KO??l??AKOWSKI: What Are Universities for? Leon GUMA??N??SKI: The Ideal University and Reality. Zygmunt BAUMAN: The Present Crisis of the Universities. II. Kazimierz AJDUKIEWICZ: On Freedom of Science. Henryk SAMSONOWICZ: Universities and Democracy. Jerzy TOPOLSKI: The Commonwealth of Scholars and New Conceptions of Truth. Klemens SZANIAWSKI: Plus ratio quam vis. III. Leon KOJ: Science, Teaching and Values. Klemens SZANIAWSKI: (...) The Ethics of Scientific Criticism. Jerzy BRZEZI??N??SKI: Ethical Problems of Research Work of Psychologists. IV. Janusz GO??L??KOWSKI: Tradition in Science. Jerzy KMITA: Is a "Creative Man of Knowledge" Needed in University Teaching? Leszek NOWAK: The Personality of Researchers and the Necessity of Schools in Science. RECAPITULATION. Jerzy BRZEZI??N??SKI: Reflections on the University. (shrink)
The paper deals with the L.J.Cohen's method of relevant variables, which is supposed to be a reconstruction of idealization in science. The author is going to show that Cohen's method is not a method of idealization, but a certain similar procedure. Nevertheless, the method of relevant variables can be paraphrased as the method of normalization and specification. This paraphrase allows the idealization approach to science better to handle the complexity of empirical research in science.
The author, starting from the critical review of Andrzej Klawiter's book (in Polish) „Research attitude and the structure of theoretical choice”, comes to consider questions concerning the opposition act/product in science and the problem of scientific interpretation. The considerations give him an occasion to formulate some rules of canonical scientific text formation (i.e. rules of cognitivism, clarity, contradiction, logical consistency, completness and consistency of interpretation).
The author quotes some opinions according to which the valuations have no cognitive value: the valuations have no truth-value; they cannot be decided basing on experience; the have no significance in the semiotic sense of the term; no problematic of the semiotic characteristic of valuation should be taken up, as they are not problems of cognitive value; valuative expressions do not belong to the science. The author analyses mainly the 5th opinion. It can be understood in three ways: as a (...) summary of an actual development stage of the science; as a methodological thesis being a component of some methodological model of a science, and as a directive addressed to scientists and recommending them to eliminate valuations from their science. In every of the above meaning the 5th opinion is to be rejected. In the interpretation it is a trivial falsehood, in the interpretation it is ineffective as a guide line of an action, and in the interpretation it assumes an inadequate reconstruction of a science, for it is possible to carry out such a reconstruction which would make possible an occurring of valuations in the science which do not lose anything of their adequacy in other respects. Designing such a reconstruction the author takes as a point of departure a distinction between objective valuations and purely expressive valuations. The former may be used as scientific assumptions and the latter – being deprived of logical value – only as criteria in the choice of problems. It is evident, however, that the sole existence of valuations in a role of scientific assumption does not disturb a realization of the paramount aim of scientific investigations, i.e. resolutions of problems formulated by the scientists. This can only take place when some additional conditions are fulfilled which the author is trying to formulate in a general way. (shrink)