Thursday, January 15, 2009

Week 1/19: Kivinen & Piiroinen

Ontology = what exists (pg 231)... synonym = metaphysics

Asks "questions about reality that are above and beyond those capable of being tackled by methods of science" questions about what constitutes an "entity"

authors argue about what determines "real" existence?

This paper looks at 3 ideas of the role of ontology in social sciences:
  1. Roy Bhaskar - critical realism - equips reality with different levels of being w/ their won emergent entitites
  2. Harre & Putnam - pragmatic realism - middle ground - avoid unneeded reification (regarding something abstract as a material thing)
  3. Dewey & Rorty - methodological relationalism - aims at overcoming the subject-object dualism - get along w/out unnecessary ontological "accessories"
Critical realism - "reality can be unequivocally accorded to things" (pg 232)
  • Gives prioroty to ontology over epistemology
  • "What must the strucutre of the world be like for scienetific knowledge to be possible?" - knowledge must conform to the structures of the world
  • Wants to reverse the Kantian approach thru transcendental realism
  • Objects are the way they are independent of how anyone describes them - "intransitive dimension"
  • The "knower" discovers the true nature of things - does have a social dimension
"Only by means of presuming that there are intransitive objects, scientific knowledge can be seen as progressing towards ever more accurate descriptions of the human-independent world, as becoming closer to reality as it is" (pg 232) Search for truth?

Thought.... Physicists and string theory - need to be philosophers and scientists - is the "nature" of the world as we know it changing? Are there mutiple realities/dimensions/parallel realities?

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