Edited by a leading exponent of the school, this book offers--in the words of the movement's founders--logical positivism's revolutionary theories on meaning and metaphysics, the nature of logic and mathematics, the foundations of knowledge ...
This book is a compact, accessible treatment of the main ideas advanced by the positivists, including Schlick, Carnap, Ayer, and the early Wittgenstein. Oswald Hanfling discusses such ideas as the 'verification principle' ('the meaning of this statement is the method of its verification') and the 'elimination of metaphysics, ' an attempt to show that metaphysical statements, for example about God, are unverifiable and therefore meaningless.
Legal positivists maintain that the legality of a rule is fundamentally determined by social facts. Yet for much of legal history, ordinary officials used legal terminology in ways that seem inconsistent with positivism. Judges regularly cited, analyzed, and predicated their decisions on the ‘laws of justice’ which they claimed had universal legal import. This practice, though well-documented by historians, has received surprisingly little philosophical attention; I argue that it invites explanation from positivists. After taxonomizing the positivist’s explanatory options, I (...) suggest that the most viable option appeals to conceptual change: classical Romans, early modern Europeans, founding-era Americans were not using ‘law’ (or ‘lex’ or ‘jus’) to refer to the subject matter of contemporary legal philosophy. But the strategy is costly. It renders positivism’s truth surprisingly parochial. And it supplies new reasons for doubting positivist accounts of contemporary practices, including the treatment of moral principles in modern adjudication. (shrink)
Since its publication in 1982, _Beyond Positivism _has become established as one of the definitive statements on economic methodology. The book’s rejection of positivism and its advocacy of pluralism were to have a profound influence in the flowering of work methodology that has taken place in economics in the decade since its publication. This edition contains a new preface outlining the major developments in the area since the book’s first appearance. The book provides the first comprehensive treatment of (...) twentieth century philosophy of science which emphasizes the issues relevant to economics. It proceeds to demonstrate this relevance by reviewing some of the key debates in the area. Having concluded that positivism has to be rejected, the author examines possible alternative bases for economic methodology. Arguing that there is no best method, he advocates methodological pluralism. (shrink)
Judging Positivism is a critical exploration of the method and substance of legal positivism. Margaret Martin is primarily concerned with the manner in which theorists who adopt the dominant positivist paradigm ask a limited set of questions and offer an equally limited set of answers, artificially circumscribing the field of legal philosophy in the process. The book focuses primarily but not exclusively on the writings of prominent legal positivist, Joseph Raz. Martin argues that Raz's theory has changed over (...) time and that these changes have led to deep inconsistencies and incoherencies in his account. One re-occurring theme in the book is that Razian positivism collapses from within. In the process of defending his own position, Raz is led to support the views of many of his main rivals, namely, Ronald Dworkin, the legal realists and the normative positivists. The internal collapse of Razian positivism proves to be instructive. Promising paths of inquiry come into view and questions that have been suppressed or marginalised by positivists re-emerge ready for curious minds to reflect on anew. The broader vision of jurisprudential inquiry defended in this book re-connects philosophy with the work of practitioners and the worries of law's subjects, bringing into focus the relevance of legal philosophy for lawyers and laymen alike"--Provided by publisher. (shrink)
This is the penultimate draft of a paper originally presented at the Hart-Fuller at 50 conference, held at the NYU Law School in February 2008. A revised version will appear in the NYU Law Review. The paper seeks to clarify and assess HLA Hart's famous claim that legal positivism somehow involves a 'separation of law and morals.' The paper contends that Hart's 'separability thesis should not be confused with the 'social thesis,' with the 'sources thesis,' or with a methodological (...) thesis about jurisprudence. Hart's thesis denies the existence of necessary (conceptual) connections between law and morality. But that thesis is false: there are many necessary connections between law and morality, some of them conceptually significant. Among these is an important negative connection: law is of its nature morally fallible and morally risky. Lon Fuller emphasised the 'internal morality of law,' the 'morality that makes law possible'. Hart stressed that there is also an immorality that law makes possible. Law's nature is seen not only in its internal virtues, in legality, but also in its internal vices, in legalism. (shrink)
By targeting and critiquing these assumptions, he lays the groundwork for a post-positivist philosophy of science that does not provide aid and comfort to the enemies of reason. This book consists of thirteen essays.
In this paper, we investigate how the life and work of Louis Rougier relate to the broader political dimension of logical empiricist philosophy. We focus on three practical projects of Rougier in the 1930s and 1940s. First, his attempts to integrate French-speaking philosophers into an international network of scientific philosophers by organizing two Unity of Science conferences in Paris. Second, his role in the renewal of liberalism through the organization of the Walter Lippmann Colloquium. Third, Rougier’s attempts at political negotiations (...) between Great Britain and the Vichy regime during the Second World War. These activities of Rougier in the 1930s and 1940s have so far never been discussed as part of a unified project on Rougier’s part. Based on our investigations of these practical projects of Rougier, we argue that Rougier’s relation to logical empiricist philosophers should primarily be understood on the level of action. Rougier’s projects aimed to proliferate the concrete improvement of society and the lives of its citizens by expunging all metaphysical questions and speculations from the sphere of social discourse. Rougier conceived logical empiricist philosophers as allies to achieve such practical effects in society. (shrink)
Nearly thirty years ago, Robert Alexy in his book The Concept and Validity of Law as well as in other early articles raised non-positivistic arguments in the Continental European tradition against legal positivism in general, which was assumed to be held by, among others, John Austin, Hans Kelsen and H.L.A. Hart. The core thesis of legal positivism that was being discussed among contemporary German jurists, just as with their Anglo- American counterparts, is the claim that there is no (...) necessary connection between law and morality. Robert Alexy has argued, however, that the law, besides consisting conceptually of elements of authoritative issuance and social efficacy, necessarily lays a claim to substantial correctness, which is derived from analytical arguments. Furthermore, if this claim to substantial correctness necessarily requires the incorporation of moral elements into law, then the ‘necessary connection thesis’, as defended by non-positivism, can be justified. Some of the most significant objections to this sort of claim, stemming from the Anglo-American world, are those introduced by Joseph Raz. In his ‘Reply’ to Robert Alexy, Raz raises at least three interesting criticisms, including, first, the ambiguity of ‘legal theory in the positivistic tradition’, second, the indeterminate formulations of the ‘separation thesis’, and, third, the necessary claim of law to legitimate authority as a moral claim. As a point of departure, I will argue that Raz’s three criticisms are misleading. For they do not enhance our understanding of the genuine compatibility or incompatibility between legal positivism and non-positivism. Despite the frequently reformulated theses of legal positivism and the various kinds of opponents responding thereto, the essential divergence between legal positivism and non-positivism was and remains the answer to the question of the relation between law and morality. Furthermore, I will clarify that in the strictest sense there can be three and only three logically possible positions concerning the relation between law and morality: the connection between them is either necessary, or impossible (i. e. they are necessarily separate), or contingent (i. e. they are neither necessarily connected nor necessarily separate). The first position is non-positivistic, while the latter two positions are, indeed, both positivistic, but in different forms: one may be called ‘exclusive’ legal positivism, the other ‘inclusive’ legal positivism. I will continue by showing that these three positions stand to one another in the relation of contraries, not contradictories, and that, taken together, they exhaust the logically possible positions concerning the relation between law and morality, never mind the tradition or authority from which these positions are derived. Raz mentions, however, many changeable formulations of the separation thesis, which even leads him to acknowledge ‘necessary connections between law and morality’. One who is trying to understand legal positivism would no doubt be puzzled by this claim. Nevertheless, I will argue that this is an alternative strategy of legal positivism, and it points to naturalistically oriented view. Although this necessary separation between law and morality, understood naturalistically, strikes one as strengthening the separation, in the end it leads to a weakened notion of necessity. This weakened necessary separation thesis, however, cannot be justified through the so-called claim of the law to legitimate authority, defended by Raz, for it is difficult to answer the question of whether a normally justified but factual authority can gain legitimate authority. Finally, the necessary connection between law and morality in a strong sense can still be justified by the claim of law to correctness, as per Alexy’s argument. (shrink)
This book represents a serious and philosophically sophisticated guide to modern American legal theory, demonstrating that legal positivism has been a misunderstood and underappreciated perspective through most of twentieth-century American legal thought. Anthony Sebok traces the roots of positivism through the first half of the twentieth century, and rejects the view that one must adopt some version of natural law theory in order to recognize moral principles in the law. On the contrary, once one corrects for the mistakes (...) of formalism and postwar legal process, one is left with a theory of legal positivism that takes moral principles seriously while avoiding the pitfalls of natural law. The broad scope of this book ensures that it will be read by philosophers of law, historians of law, historians of American intellectual life, and those in political science concerned with public law and administration. (shrink)
Due to their acceptance of the verifiability principle, the only way left for logical positivists to argue for the meaningfulness of religious language was to accept some sort of emotivistic conception of it or to reduce it to the description of religious attitude. The verifiability principle, however, suffers from some severe limitations that make it inadequate as a criterion for cognitive meaning. To resolve these problems, logical positivists gave up the requirement of conclusive verifiability and defended a sort of ‘liberalization’ (...) of the verifiability principle. Carnap’s confirmability criterion for cognitive meaning, which is a liberalized form of the verifiability principle, is compatible with an orthodox conception of religious language since, from a theistic perspective, the existence of God can be confirmed through our observational statements. (shrink)
Some philosophers argue that many contemporary debates in metaphysics are “illegitimate,” “shallow,” or “trivial,” and that “contemporary analytic metaphysics, a professional activity engaged in by some extremely intelligent and morally serious people, fails to qualify as part of the enlightened pursuit of objective truth, and should be discontinued” (Ladyman and Ross, Every thing must go: Metaphysics naturalized , 2007 ). Many of these critics are explicit about their sympathies with Rudolf Carnap and his circle, calling themselves ‘neo-positivists’ or ‘neo-Carnapians.’ Yet (...) despite the fact that one of the main conclusions of logical positivism was that metaphysical statements are meaningless, many of these neo-positivists are themselves engaged in metaphysical projects. This paper aims to clarify how we may see a neo-positivist metaphysics as proceeding in good faith, one that starts with serious engagement with the findings of science, particularly fundamental physics, but also has room for traditional, armchair methods. (shrink)
In this collection of essays one of the preeminent philosophers of science writing offers a reinterpretation of the enduring significance of logical positivism, the revolutionary philosophical movement centered around the Vienna Circle in the 1920s and 30s. Michael Friedman argues that the logical positivists were radicals not by presenting a new version of empiricism but rather by offering a new conception of a priori knowledge and its role in empirical knowledge. This collection will be mandatory reading for any philosopher (...) or historian of science interested in the history of logical positivism in particular or the evolution of modern philosophy in general. (shrink)
In this paper, I deploy an argument that I have developed in a number of recent papers in the service of three projects. First, I show that the most influential version of legal positivism – that associated with H.L.A. Hart – fails. The argument’s engine is a requirement that a constitutive account of legal facts must meet. According to this rational-relation requirement, it is not enough for a constitutive account of legal facts to specify non-legal facts that modally determine (...) the legal facts. The constitutive determinants of legal facts must provide reasons for the obtaining of the legal facts (in a sense of “reason” that I develop). I show that the Hartian account is unable to meet this requirement. That officials accept a rule of recognition does not by itself constitute a reason why the standards specified in that rule are part of the law of the community. I argue that it is false that understanding the explanatory significance of officials’ acceptance of a rule is part of our reflective understanding of the nature of law. The second project of the paper is to respond to a family of objections that challenge me to explain why normative facts and descriptive facts together are better placed to provide reasons for legal facts than descriptive facts alone. A unifying theme of the objections is that explanations have to stop somewhere; descriptive facts, it is suggested, are no worse a stopping place than normative facts. Third, the paper spells out a consequence of the rational-relation requirement: if an account of what, at the most basic level, determines legal facts is true in any possible legal system, it is true in all possible legal systems. For example, if a Hartian account of legal facts is true in any possible legal system, it is true in all possible legal systems. I use this all-or-nothing result in my critique of a Hartian account, but the result is of interest in its own right. (shrink)
Introduction The Argument in Brief -- Economics Is in Scientific Trouble -- An Antique, Unethical, and Badly Measured Behaviorism Doesn't Yield Good Economic Science or Good Politics -- Economics Needs to Get Serious about Measuring the Economy -- The Number of Unmeasured "Imperfections" Is Embarrassingly Long -- Historical Economics Can Measure Them, Showing Them to Be Small -- The Worst of Orthodox Positivism Lacks Ethics and Measurement -- Neoinstitutionalism Shares in the Troubles -- Even the Best of Neoinstitutionalism Lacks (...) Measurement -- And "Culture," or Mistaken History, Will Not Repair It -- That Is, Neoinstitutionalism, Like the Rest of Behavioral Positivism, Fails as History and as Economics -- As It Fails in Logic and in Philosophy -- Neoinstitutionalism, in Short, Is Not a Scientific Success -- Humanomics Can Save the Science -- But It's Been Hard for Positivists to Understand Humanomics -- Yet We Can Get a Humanomics -- And Although We Can't Save Private Max U -- We Can Save an Ethical Humanomics. (shrink)
The aim of this collection of essays on legal positivism is to complete the already easily available English material on this subject. This is not a collection of writings by legal positivists, but about legal positivism.
Do the terms “logical positivism” and “logical empiricism” mark a philosophically real and significant distinction? There is, of course, no doubt that the first term designates the group of philosophers known as the Vienna Circle, headed by Moritz Schlick and including Rudolf Carnap, Herbert Feigl, Philipp Frank, Hans Hahn, Otto Neurath, Friedrich Waismann and others. What is debatable, however, is whether the name “logical positivism” correctly distinguishes their doctrines from related ones called “logical empiricism” that emerged from the (...) Berlin Society for Scientific Philosophy around Hans Reichenbach which included Walter Dubislav, Kurt Grelling, Kurt Lewin and a young Carl Gustav Hempel.1 The .. (shrink)
In Unifying Biology, Smocovitis offers a series of claimsregarding the relationship between key actors in the synthesisperiod of evolutionary studies and positivism, especially claimsentailing Joseph Henry Woodger and the Unity of Science Movement.This commentary examines Woodger''s possible relevance to key synthesis actors and challenges Smocovitis'' arguments for theexplanatory relevance of logical positivism, and positivism moregenerally, to synthesis history. Under scrutiny, these arguments areshort on evidence and subject to substantial conceptual confusion.Though plausible, Smocovitis'' minimal interpretation – that somegeneralised (...) form of Comtean positivism had a role in synthesishistory – requires more of an evidential basis and must engageexisting scholarship on epistemic reforms in the biological sciencesprior to the synthesis period. Smocovitis is right to investigateepistemology in the synthesis period of evolutionary studies and tolook for links to wider changes in science and philosophy. However,in its present form, Unifying Biology fails to support herbasic interpretation. (shrink)
In “How Facts Make Law” and other recent work, Mark Greenberg argues that legal positivists cannot develop a viable constitutive account of law that meets what he calls the “the rational-relation requirement.” He argues that this gives us reason to reject positivism in favor of antipositivism. In this paper, I argue that Greenberg is wrong: positivists can in fact develop a viable constitutive account of law that meets the rational-relation requirement. I make this argument in two stages. First, I (...) offer an account of the rational-relation requirement. Second, I put forward a viable positivist account of law that I argue meets this requirement. The account that I propose is a version of Scott Shapiro’s Planning Theory of Law. The version of Shapiro’s account that I propose combines (1) the account of concepts and conceptual analysis put forward by David Chalmers and Frank Jackson with (2) the account of the concept LEGAL INSTITUTION (and its conceptual connections to the concept LEGAL NORM) that we get from a certain reading of Shapiro’s Planning Theory. In addition to providing a compelling response to Greenberg’s argument in “How Facts Make Law,” I argue that the explanation for why my response to Greenberg works underscores one of the central problems facing legal antipositivism: namely, its lack of a convincing account of the nature of legal institutions. (shrink)
A general consensus has emerged in the scholarship on Latin American thought dating from the latter half of the nineteenth century through the first quarter of the twentieth. Latin American intellectuals widely adapted the European philosophy of positivism in keeping with the demands of their own social and political contexts, effectively making positivism the second most important philosophical tradition in the history of Latin America, after scholasticism. However, as thinkers across Latin America faced the challenges of the twentieth (...) century, they grew increasingly disappointed with positivism, so that “anti-positivism” stands out as a defining feature of Latin American philosophy in the early twentieth century. In this essay, I challenge or at least add nuance to this widely accepted narrative by demonstrating considerable continuity rather than simple rupture between positivism and “anti-positivism” in Latin America. I focus on Mexico, where both positivism and the reaction against it are generally taken to have been strongest, or at least most politically significant. After tracing the history of positivism’s transformations in Mexico from Auguste Comte (1798-1857) to Gabino Barreda (1818-1881) to Justo Sierra (1848-1912), I show how Mexico’s leading “anti-positivist” philosophers—José Vasconcelos (1882-1959) and Antonio Caso (1883-1946)—draw substantially upon their positivist predecessors. (shrink)
It has become increasingly common for legal positivist theorists to claim that the primary objective of legal theory in general, and legal positivism in particular, is "explaining normativity." The phrase "explaining normativity" can be understood either ambitiously or more modestly. The more modest meaning is an analytical exploration of what is meant by legal or moral obligation, or by the authority claims of legal officials. When the term is understood ambitiously - as meaning an explanation of how conventional and (...) other empirical facts can give rise to moral obligations - as many legal positivist theorists seem to be using the phrase, the project is contrary to basic tenets of legal positivism, and has regularly led theorists to propose doubtful theories that ignore "is"/"ought" divisions. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to undermine Paul Feyerabend's claim, which is crucial to the success of his analysis of Positivism, that the Pragmatic Theory of Observation was first developed by Rudolf Carnap in his early discussions of protocol sentences. Rather, it will be argued that Carnap's conception of protocols was founded on considerations drawn from his conception of language so that Carnap's reasons for endorsing certain aspects of the Pragmatic Theory are nothing like Feyerabend's. Moreover, Carnap never (...) approved the final conclusion of the Pragmatic Theory, that observational reports are distinguished by their causes. These historical conclusions provide the basis for arguing that, despite Feyerabend's critique, Carnap's later views (in "The Methodological Character of Theoretical Concepts") clearly countenance theoretical influences on observational statements. (shrink)
According to Scott Shapiro’s Moral Aim Thesis, it is an essential feature of the law that it has a moral aim. In short, for Shapiro, this means that the law has the constitutive aim of providing morally good solutions to morally significant social problems in cases where other, less formal ways of guiding the activity of agents won’t work. In this article, I argue that legal positivists should reject the Moral Aim Thesis. In short, I argue that although there are (...) versions of the Moral Aim Thesis that are arguably compatible with legal positivism, all of the different ways of making it compatible face serious philosophical difficulties. Following a discussion of what these difficulties are, I provide an alternative to the Moral Aim Thesis, a thesis that I call the ‘Represented-as-Moral Thesis’. This thesis avoids the problems that I raise for the Moral Aim Thesis and better resonates with some of the core intuitions behind legal positivism. Furthermore, a version of Shapiro’s Planning Theory of Law that is developed with the Represented-as-Moral Thesis (as opposed to the Moral Aim Thesis) can explain all of the things that Shapiro uses the Moral Aim Thesis to explain. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the reversal in meaning of the word positivism, which has come to mean ‘theory which assumes the existence of a world beyond our ideas’ whereas once it meant ‘theory which is agnostic about the existence of a world beyond our ideas', and with educational writers’ persistent mistakes in using quotation marks, as a consequence of this reversal.
This book develops a general philosophical theory about the nature of law and its relationship with morality called inclusive legal positivism. In addition to articulating and defending his own version of legal positivism, which is a refinement and development of the views of H.L.A. Hart as expressed in his classic book The Concept of Law, the author clarifies the terms of current jurisprudential debates about the nature of law. These debates are often clouded by failures to appreciate that (...) different theorists are offering different kinds of theories and attempting to answer different questions. The clarity of Waluchow's work will help to remove the confusion often present in jurisprudential debate. (shrink)
It has become increasingly popular to argue that legal positivism is actually a normative theory, and that it cannot be purely descriptive and morally neutral as H.L.A. Hart has suggested. This article purports to disprove this line of thought. It argues that legal positivism is best understood as a descriptive, morally neutral, theory about the nature of law. The article distinguishes between five possible views about the relations between normative claims and legal positivism, arguing that some of (...) them are not at odds with Hart’s thesis about the nature of jurisprudence, while the others are wrong, both as expositions of legal positivism or as critiques of it. Legal positivism does not necessarily purport to justify any aspect of its subject matter, nor is it committed to any particular moral or political evaluations. (shrink)
This essay is conceived as a critical exposition of the central issues that figure in the ongoing conversation between Logical Positivists and neo Positivists on the one hand and Christian apologists on the other. My expository aim is to isolate and to describe the main issues that have emer ged in the extended discussion between men of Positivistic turn of mind and men sympathetic to the claims of Christianity. My critical aim is to select typical, influential stands that have been (...) taken on each of these issues, to assess their viability, and to isolate certain dilemmas which discussion of these issues has generated. I am convinced that the now commonly rejected verifiability theory of meaning is very commonly misunderstood and has been rejected by and large for the wrong reasons. Before it is cast off-if it is to be cast off-what is needed is a reconsideration of that theory and of the objections that its several formulations have elicited. Furthermore, at least partially because of a misconstruing of the verifiability doctrine, there have been some interesting-though in my opinion unsuccessful-claims advanced about the testability-status of sentences expressive of Christian belief. Moreover, in their haste to vindicate Christianity, some apologists have been fairly cavalier, in my opinion, about what "Christianity" involves. This volume offers what I hope will be a clear statement and analysis of the principle points at issue between Positivism and Christianity, together with my own assessment of where the argument stands now. (shrink)
This book is an uncompromising defense of legal positivism that insists on the separability of law and morality. After distinguishing among three facets of morality, Kramer explores a variety of ways in which law has been perceived as integrally connected to each of those facets. The book concludes with a detailed discussion of the obligation to obey the law--a discussion that highlights the strengths of legal positivism in the domain of political philosophy as much as in the domain (...) of jurisprudence. (shrink)
As the author shows, intellectual history is very different from the history of philosophy; but one wonders if the two kinds of history matter to each other. The author's complete lack of philosophical concerns may, of course, be a virtue, but it is also restrictive and self-defeating. Nevertheless, the book may well stand as the authoritative treatment of the history of Comte's positivism—an idea which, Simon declares at the outset, had little to recommend it but which did manage to (...) have a history. The book is written with great attention to detail and contains a long, well-assembled and very valuable bibliography. The chapters on Mill and other English thinkers are particularly interesting, and will probably settle some old disputes about the impact of positivism in nineteenth-century England.—C. D. (shrink)