Scientific Ethos and Foundations of Conscious Activity


Clarification of the scientific ethos provides the opportunity to reconstruct the foundations on which the conscious activity in science is based. Contemporary scientific society does not fully recognize this metaphysical issue because of the domination of the power of naturalistic argument. The ethos of science does not show its natural embodiment; it is the complex of social and psychological norms, which rules each scientist unconsciously. Embodiment of the scientific ethos in Wittgenstein and Husserl exhibits metatheoretical prerequisites for critique of the theory presented by Robert Merton. The phenomenological approach offered by Husserl helps to visualize the scientific ethos. The analytical approach developed by Wittgenstein allows enriching this procedure. Interaction of these approaches provides disclosure of scientific mind for representation of conscious activity within science. The author maintains four theses. I. The form of attributive proposition cannot express scientific ethos, thereby, scientific ethos cannot be actually universalistic. II. The scientific ethos demands disclosure of metaphysical perspective of understanding, and it cannot lead to ordinary social forms of interaction. III. The phenomenology of scientific ethos is a branch of metaphysical studies that presupposes the correspondence between personal experiences and extraordinary forms of communication. IV. Contradictions in the scientific ethos are necessary, and they demand the corresponding theory for the explanation. Thesis (I) opens a way to interpretation of a scientific ethos as the semi-formalized description of the bases of science. It discloses new way for psychological understanding of scientific activity. The science is a complex of propositions on the base of the extra-rational assumptions of the nature of knowledge. Thesis (II) discloses options of understanding of this nature. Theses (III) and (IV) provide investigations of a metaphysical origin of scientific knowledge, namely, irremovable contradictions and wisdom as elements of the general scientific ethos.

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Kulikov, S.B. Scientific Ethos and Foundations of Conscious Activity. Integr. psych. behav. 54, 158–178 (2020).

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  • Conscious activity
  • Propositional attitudes
  • Psychology of knowledge
  • Social body of science
  • Wittgenstein
  • Husserl
  • Merton