1. Introduction

This is the second of two volumes in which a certain ideas which I call Positive Philosophy are presented. The first volume [1] is concerned with the theoretical aspects of Positive Philosophy, this volume is concerned with the practical side. The distinction between the two corresponds roughly to the distinction between matters of fact, and judgements of value (after Hume) or that between natural and moral philosophy in Aristotle.

The first volume therefore addresses questions in epistemology, metaphysics and logic, in the philosophy of mathematics, science and engineering. This volume is concerned with what might be called personal or existential matters, with ethics and morality, and with political, economic, and other social matters.

In both volumes I am concerned to connect the philosophy with what seem to me to be important contemporary issues. In both cases the possible future impacts of information technologies is a concern, particularly the positive opportunities arising.

In the first the theoretical issues are therefore intimately connected with more practical matters concerning the automation of reason, to the extent that the epistemology and logic are presented as an abstract architecture for cognitive cooperation between man and machine.

In this volume the ``practical'' philosophy is connected with some of opportunities and challenges which information technology brings to the conduct of our lives and the workings of social institutions. Of these the ways in which individuals are now and will in the future be able to influence the world around us, both through political and economic institutions are of particular interest.

The two volumes are intended to be largely independent. For that reason I begin this volume with an account of those aspects of the theoretical philosophy (which I sometimes call ``metaphysical positivism'') which are most important in this context. Principally this consists in a conception of analytic method, which I seek to apply here, together with some of the philosophical underpinnings necessary in explaining and motivating the use of the method.

Beyond a general discussion of practical philosophy, two areas in which information technology might enable or impell changes are explored.

These concern the nature of democracy and the operation of `free-market' economies.

The automation of reason is used in the first volume as a way of focussing an account of a theoretical philosophy. In this volume an exploration of possible changes in democratic politics and free market economies serves a similar purpose, providing a motivation for the preceding account of practical philosophy.

Roger Bishop Jones 2016-01-07