Posts

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 15: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

Ah, You Don’t Believe We’re on the Eve of Destruction? (15/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

Identifying valid methods of human thought in pursuit of life-sustaining human action through sensory perception, observation, reason, and logic is itself a science.

Built into the human mind is the structure and latent capability to identify causality, to value profitable outcomes, and to differentiate success and failure, profit and loss, pain and pleasure, guided by reason and logic.

These built-in capabilities provide the potential and set the stage for human discovery and are necessary for individual survival. They allow us to discover and recognize the utility of and need for peaceful cooperation to advance the development of socially beneficial production and trade to satisfy our needs and desires. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 14: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

The Marginalization and Destruction of Epistemology (14/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Edwin Locke notes in The Illusion of Determinism: Why Free Will is Real and Causal that to construct an experimental method while at the same time acting consistently with the belief that human beings lack free will and that volitional consciousness and human agency is always and everywhere an illusion, a scientist would not be able to know what procedures to follow, choose the proper procedures to follow, or know what determined their actions, for doing so would be regulated by uncontrollable causes governed by the natural laws controlling the physical world. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 13: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

Volitional and Mechanistic Causation: Science or Sciences? (13/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

The question of whether social science or any study of reality having to do with human action can be accepted as valid and legitimate science remains contentious amongst intellectuals. Human action and the study of those disciplines serving human values and interests don’t fit neatly into the modern scientistic and positivist worldview held by the majority of the scientific community.

There exists a clash of paradigms. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 11: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

The Important Implications of Praxeology (11/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

It was not so long ago that scientific dualism – the idea that the social sciences and the natural sciences require distinct methodologies – was uncontroversial. It was accepted that science was the systematic search for knowledge wherever appropriate to advance human understanding of the world and man’s place in it. This quest for discovery took place both in the realm of human action and the realm of the non-teleological world of nature.

What Mises, Hayek, and others point out is that the abandonment of epistemological rigor has resulted in debasement and abuse of science, and that abuse comes with consequences. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 9: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science (9/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

In 1962, after a career as one of the most important and distinguished economist of the 20thcentury, Ludwig von Mises, author of the 1949 classic Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, published his final book, The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science: An Essay on Method.

Mises had written extensively on epistemological methodology in the social sciences before, and like Hayek, remained deeply concerned about an epistemological crisis in science and the foreseen consequences, necessitating a further warning in no uncertain terms that a rigorous and valid defense of epistemology was required, and its continued abuse can only be ignored at mankind’s peril.

As someone who escaped pursuit by the Nazi’s in pre World War II Eastern Europe, and was forced to flee to the United States, Mises had first hand experience of the consequences about which he wrote. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 7: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

In The Land of Blind Science, Volitional Consciousness Is King (7/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

When it comes to human actions, notes Hayek in his aptly titled book The Counter-Revolution of Science, “things arewhat the acting people think they are” (44). For example, a hammer is not a thing in itself or an objective fact of Science, but rather a means to an end as perceived by a human being, a tool that can be created, designed, and used for a conceived purpose as defined by the user. A hammer can be a tool to join pieces of wood by means of nails, or to remove nails and break things apart.

Scientism neglects the study of human action and the meaning humans ascribe to the world they encounter. The best science can do in this realm is generate statistics and data maps. Human motives cannot be directly perceived and quantitatively measured, and to this extent are excluded from “real” Scientific study. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 6: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris: A Clash of Scientific Worldviews? (6/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

F.A. Hayek, winner of the 1974 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, expressed concern that science has morphed into a “prejudice” or ideology that places the physical and biological sciences at the pinnacle of discovering and validating what is real, what is knowable, and what is true.

Hayek’s observation is that science as an endeavour has taken on the form of an ideology and has embarked on a continuing crusade to reshape our thinking about the world by translating that which we observe directly with our senses into mathematical symbols, and thereby has moved away from what science is and should be. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 5: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

Hayek’s Fallacy of Scientistic Prejudice (5/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

The consideration of the existence of a single scientific method – a prejudice towards a methodology for studying the world of human action using a scientific method developed for the study of a mechanistic world of natural laws – was referred to by economist F.A. Hayek as the fallacy of scientistic prejudice, or scientismfor short. Hayek wrote a series of essays about this problem that were published in 1952 as The Counter-Revolution of Science: Studies in the Abuse of Reason. (All page citations for Hayek to The Counter-Revolution of Science (2nd Ed.), LibertyPress, Indianapolis, 1979.)

Hayek argues that prior to the 19thcentury, a feature of science was its choiceof appropriate methods to study disciplines of knowledge, including the study of politics, history, and economics. Following in the footsteps of Aristotle, science covered both the natural sciences and the social sciences. “The term science,” Hayek wrote, “had not yet assumed the special narrow meaning it has today, nor was there any distinction made which singled out the physical or natural sciences and attributed to them a special dignity.” (19-20) Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

It’s a Wonderful Way to Learn About Emergent Order

How does the market self-organize to ensure what we want is available? Russ Roberts has the answer.

I have been listening to and learning about economics from Russ Roberts’ EconTalk podcasts  for years.

Roberts is an economist and research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute, and author of many books, the most recent being How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness. He’s also an incredibly talented educator and interviewer.

Earlier this year, Roberts created and narrates an extremely creative long-form poem and beautifully illustrated video called “It’s a Wonderful Loaf.” The title is a play on the title of the Frank Capra’s film It’s a Wonderful Life. In terms of story, the poem is a modern version of Leonard Read’s famous short story, I Pencil, which is also worthy of reading for it’s important lesson.

Read more