Popper, Rationality and the Possibility of Social Science

Citation data:

THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, ISSN: 0495-4548, Vol: 28, Issue: 1, Page: 61-75

Publication Year:
2013
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Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/10188
DOI:
10.1387/theoria.1879
Author(s):
Frederick, Danny
Publisher(s):
UPV/EHU Press; Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del PaĆ­s Vasco
Tags:
Arts and Humanities
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article description
Social science employs teleological explanations which depend upon the rationality principle, according to which people exhibit instrumental rationality. Popper points out that people also exhibit critical rationality, the tendency to stand back from, and to question or criticise, their views. I explain how our critical rationality impugns the explanatory value of the rationality principle and thereby threatens the very possibility of social science. I discuss the relationship between instrumental and critical rationality and show how we can reconcile our critical rationality with the possibility of social science if we invoke Popper's conception of limited rationality and his indeterminism.