Liberal Positivism
Overview
Positivism is traditionally both anti-dogmatic and dogmatic, in this similar to scepticism. In "liberal" positivism, we seek to capture the positive elements of positivism while discarding the negative dogmas.
We retrieve some aspects of Comte conception of historical progress.
Kolakowski identifies four key features of Positivism, we present them and point out the negative dogmatism.
Open scepticism is a kind of theoretical scepticism, an anti-dogmatic philosophy in respect of knowledge, which enjoins suspension of judgement in all matters, accepting only that things appear to be as they do.
We recast the key features of Positivism eliminating the negative dogmatism.
Comte on Progress
We retrieve some aspects of Comte conception of historical progress.
Kolakowski's Conception of Positivism
Kolakowski identifies four key features of Positivism, we present them and point out the negative dogmatism.
phenomenalism
There is no real difference between 'essence' and 'phenomenon'.
nominalism
"every abstract science is a method of abbreviating the recording of experiences and gives us no extra, independent knowledge in the sense that, via its abstractions, it opens access to empirically inaccessible domains of reality"
the denial that value judgements and normative statements can be knowledge
An example of this is Hume's denial that one can derive an "ought" from an "is".
the unity of science
A belief in the essential unity of scientific method. Exactly in what that unity consists seems a bit variable.
Open Scepticism
Open scepticism is a kind of theoretical scepticism, an anti-dogmatic philosophy in respect of knowledge, which enjoins suspension of judgement in all matters, accepting only that things appear to be as they do.
Scepticism has a long history.
Some Kinds of Scepticism and Speculation
An analysis tailored to explication of our preferred varieties.
Elements of Open Scepticism
Open scepticism is extreme in its avoidance of dogma, but prefers the ongoing search for (tentative) knowledge rather than collapsing into an exercise in refutation of dogma. It rejects the demonstration of equipollence as itself dogmatic and emphasises the usefulness of refined elaborations of appearances. The combined effect of these features is to make open scepticism appear moderate, perhaps even vacuous.
An introduction to dogma, the distinction between positive and negative dogma, and some examples of each.
Benefits of Scepticism and Dogmatism
Provocation to Doubt
Doubt occurs at many levels and in many domains. The most fundamental and general doubt flows from the argument from regress of justification, which suggests that absolutely certain knowledge is not to be had. The doubt thus established is general but academic, and of little practical significance. Doubts of greater practical impact are obtained by more special arguments at higher levels.
Positivism Liberalised
We recast the key features of Positivism eliminating the negative dogmatism.

up quick index

privacy policy

Created:2009/7/12

$Id: x026.xml,v 1.2 2009/09/16 09:46:50 rbj Exp $

V