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Questions of Science and Metaphysics

  • Joseph Agassi
Chapter
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 28)

Abstract

The idea of science propounded here is a combination of two views. First, the Cartesian or rationalistic view, or the deductivist view, of science as subordinate to metaphysics — recently revived by Meyerson, Burtt, Koyre, and others. Second, the critical view or the hypothetico-deductive view of science as Socratic dialogue par excellence — a view we owe to Sir Karl Popper. In this chapter I wish to relate both views to a new branch of philosophy, the logic of questions, or erotetic logic. I shall briefly mention what has thus far been done in the field, describe my dissatisfaction with it as not a true dialectic or a logic of Socratic dialogue, and, finally, attempt to link the more advanced (dialectical) part of the logic of questions with my view of the role of metaphysics in science. Briefly, the Socratic method is a method of critical cross-examination, i. e., of trying to find errors in a given answer by eliciting more answers to ancillary questions. This requires the ability to produce answers and to recognize a given statement as either an answer or not an answer to a given question. The analysis of answers was taken up by various authors, including C. L. Hamblin, David Harrah, Nuel Belnap, and Lennart Aquist. The question, what does one do when one has no answer to a given question? has been studied by Sylvain Brom-berger. If I understand him correctly — which he doubts — his view does not differ from mine: metaphysical theories help us devise answers to some sorts of questions and so act as selectors.

Keywords

Causal Explanation Objectivist Theory Tuning Fork Correspondence Theory True Answer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. Sir Karl Popper, ‘Three Views Concerning Human Knowledge’, reprinted in his Conjectures and Refutations, London 1963.Google Scholar
  2. George Boole, Mathematical Analysis of Logic Cambridge 1847, opening.Google Scholar
  3. Benedetto Croce, Aesthetics as Science of Expression and General Linguistics New York 1953, p. 30.Google Scholar
  4. J.-P. Sartre, Being and Nothingness special abridged edition, 2nd paperback edition, New York, 1965, pp. 176, 283.Google Scholar
  5. M.S. Frings (ed.), Heidegger and the Quest for Truth, Chicago 1968, p. 68.Google Scholar
  6. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Primacy of Perception and Other Essays Evanston 1962, p. 69.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Agassi

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