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100.1.#.a: Gutiérrez, Claudio

524.#.#.a: Gutiérrez, Claudio (1968). La abstracción y los límites de la imaginación paradigmática. Crítica. Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía; Vol 2 No 5, 1968; 89-102. Recuperado de https://repositorio.unam.mx/contenidos/4115713

245.1.0.a: La abstracción y los límites de la imaginación paradigmática

502.#.#.c: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

561.1.#.a: Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas, UNAM

264.#.0.c: 1968

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001.#.#.#: critica:oai:ojs2.132.248.184.97:article/46

041.#.7.h: spa

520.3.#.a: Scientific paradigms are frameworks of interpretation which make the material of experience significant. In the final analysis they depend on the subjectivity of the scientist, on his creative imagination. We shall not attempt to prove these propositions, but rather take them as premises and see if they throw light on some important epistemological problems. Two classes of subjectivity can be distinguished: subjectivity of the explanation, (subjectivity1) and subjectivity of the object (subjectivity2) Subjectivity corresponds to the purposes of the investigator, his views, and so on. Subjectivity1 corresponds to the fact that, in the social sciences, the object of study is people, who have purposes, beliefs, etc. As a result of subjectivity2, words such as "purpose", "belief", etc. should figure in the language of the social scientist. One can say that these are theoretical terms, like the term "force", for example, in the physical sciences, since they are not direct descriptions of sense data. This consideration does not necessarily imply acceptance of physicalism: the identification of both "force" and "purpose" as theoretical terms allows one to consider both alternatively as a result of the presence of subjectivity2. Such is the attitude of F. Knight when he considers that terms like "force" represent us within the object of physics: we can never eliminate consciousness from our idea of material things, since we put ourselves in its place to interpret its behaviour. We can distinguish two general approaches to the problem of theoretical terms, in accordance with the above: understanding "purpose" as a kind of "force" (physicalism), or contrarily, to understand "force" as a kind of "purpose" (heuristic view). The first attitude seems to say: "We make theoretical terms for ourselves so that we can remain outside the object to be explained." The second attitude seems to say: "We put ourselves in the stead of the object so that we can understand." These two methods are not mutually exclusive, but complementary. The last is dialectic or synthetic it seeks unity and generality ; the first is positive and analytic it seeks differences and objectivity . As an absolutization of two complementary principles, they would be inadequate and sterile. The dialectic, for tautological emptiness; the positive, for self-destruction of the person of the knower. There is a difference between the two: the dialectic attitude is in fact self- validating on account of its circularism; the positive is self-contradictory, since total objectivity is impossible to achieve. This asymetry can be presented in schematic form: (1) The dialectic approach, in which subjectivity1 predominates over subjectivity2, is self-validating at long range, but is not very fruitful at close range. (2) The positive approach is contradictory at long range, but very useful at close range for particular purposes. The first is unfruitful because nobody is interested in pronouncing tautologies upon immediate problems; this is unavoidable in the last analysis because all language is ultimately circular. The second is, in the end, self-contradictory, because nobody can expect to know anything without being there to know it; it is useful at limited range because every logical inference procedes by making essential, even if transient, use of inconsistencies. This is clear in the case of indirect proof; though none the less so in that of direct proof. For example, the hypothetical syllogism, "pvq, ~p, ∴ q", must form the inconsistency "p • ~p" within the first member of the disjunction, to be able to separate the second member, that is, "q". The absolutization of the dialectic approach is commonly associated with idealism; the absolutization of the analytic approach, with positivism. Between the different attempts to reconcile these two tendencies, that of Talcott Parsons, with his "analytic realism", is numbered. For him, all knowledge is composed of positive categories and residual categories. These point out the necessity for logical closure of the system. Parsons tends to take the residual categories as representatives of the province of another complementary science, so that what would be residual in one science, is positive in another. For my part, I wish to take the residual categories as an expression of the inexhaustible character of reality, or as a representation of the subjective foundation of all formalized thought. In order to assure "empirical openness" in the system, despite its "logical closure", we must take the residual categories not as tokens of our relative ignorance (within the system and in relation to the other paradigm), but of our ignorance as such, ultimately unclarifiable. Logical closure is indispensable because every theory must be self-validating. Empirical openness is indispensable because no theory can be consistent if it does not leave room for continual heuristic advance, and for the operation of alternative paradigms which help it to capture the multiple dimensions of reality· Ambiguity is essential to all knowledge bearing on reality· If one tries to get rid of it entirely, one finishes by destroying all knowledge. One draws precisely and without ambiguity the argument one wants to refute. The clearest exposition of a theory is the one elaborated by its enemies. Why should it be that, after all, the only powerful and completely effective philosophical argument is the reductio ad absurdum? Would it not be because every tenable theory is coherent up to a point, but cannot be consistent and complete as well. It has been argued that coherence cannot be taken as a sufficient criterion for truth, since it can stabilize an erroneous belief. I think that this is an example of incomplete analysis. If we seriously take into account that knowledge has subjective roots, we have to admit that the human imagination is radically limited and that its powers are exhaustible. We have to recognize two classes of imaginative weakness and these weaknesses will be paradoxically our defense against relativism. The first we shall call the quantitative depletion of (available) paradigms . This forces us to con· tent ourselves with the paradigms that we have, which become "necessary". The second is the qualitative depletion of a given paradigm, whose capability to defend itself by theoretical manouevres against adverse evidence may become exhausted. If the range of the beliefs which can reasonably be maintained is reduced by these two "weaknesses", then what would be a criterion of stability of belief can effectively be considered as a criterion of truth. Thus the necessity of a priori propositions is seen not as a product of an intuitive faculty of the human mind, but rather as an in· capacity of the mind to imagine worlds in which these propositions would not be valid. The coherence of an explanation can be so wide in scope, and proximate in character, or so intimately appealing to our aesthetic or pragmatic sense, that the possibility of furnishing a rival paradigm is exhausted for all discernible effects. This quantitative depletion of paradigms points to the rational end of knowledge, to the circularity or self-validation of all theory. On the other hand, this does not force us to accept that any theory can be maintained before any contrary evidence, provided that we make theoretical changes in some part of the system. For there is also the qualitative exhaustion of the paradigms. A paradigm reaches this point whenever it is prevented from defending itself against falsification, since the rest of the system loses fluidity and becomes practically unmodifiable. So the change has to be made here and nowhere else. Certain interpretations of a low hypothetical level cannot be discarded, whatever may be the paradigm we have decided to maintain; consistency cannot therefore be assured in all cases. Here is the positive or empirical end of knowledge, the requisite of verification independent of hypothesis; it is based on the impossibility, in which we find ourselves, of thinking away the normal data of our senses and the results of the basic logical operations. The analysis can still be taken a step further by interpreting the two depletion points of scientific paradigms as themselves being complementary paradigms, in the field of methodology. Heuristic method, on the one hand, and empirical method on the other. The two alternative approaches will be necessary and important. Both should be used, specially because they counteract the excesses of each other: danger of verbal inflation or unwarranted speculation, on the one hand; danger of intellectual depression, annulment of heuristic momentum, on the other. We should cultivate both approaches simultaneously since, even if "inflation is preferable to depression" (as the political economist will say), one ought not to have either. Resumen

773.1.#.t: Crítica. Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía; Vol 2 No 5 (1968); 89-102

773.1.#.o: http://critica.filosoficas.unam.mx/index.php/critica

046.#.#.j: 2021-09-28 00:00:00.000000

022.#.#.a: ISSN electrónico: 1870-4905; ISSN impreso: 0011-1503

310.#.#.a: Cuatrimestral

300.#.#.a: Páginas: 89-102

264.#.1.b: Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas, UNAM

758.#.#.1: http://critica.filosoficas.unam.mx/index.php/critica

doi: https://doi.org/10.22201/iifs.18704905e.1968.46

handle: 00f3ef147e0894da

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245.1.0.b: La abstracción y los límites de la imaginación paradigmática

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Artículo

La abstracción y los límites de la imaginación paradigmática

Gutiérrez, Claudio

Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas, UNAM, publicado en Crítica. Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía, y cosechado de Revistas UNAM

Licencia de uso

Procedencia del contenido

Cita

Gutiérrez, Claudio (1968). La abstracción y los límites de la imaginación paradigmática. Crítica. Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía; Vol 2 No 5, 1968; 89-102. Recuperado de https://repositorio.unam.mx/contenidos/4115713

Descripción del recurso

Autor(es)
Gutiérrez, Claudio
Tipo
Artículo de Investigación
Área del conocimiento
Artes y Humanidades
Título
La abstracción y los límites de la imaginación paradigmática
Fecha
2018-10-26
Resumen
Scientific paradigms are frameworks of interpretation which make the material of experience significant. In the final analysis they depend on the subjectivity of the scientist, on his creative imagination. We shall not attempt to prove these propositions, but rather take them as premises and see if they throw light on some important epistemological problems. Two classes of subjectivity can be distinguished: subjectivity of the explanation, (subjectivity1) and subjectivity of the object (subjectivity2) Subjectivity corresponds to the purposes of the investigator, his views, and so on. Subjectivity1 corresponds to the fact that, in the social sciences, the object of study is people, who have purposes, beliefs, etc. As a result of subjectivity2, words such as "purpose", "belief", etc. should figure in the language of the social scientist. One can say that these are theoretical terms, like the term "force", for example, in the physical sciences, since they are not direct descriptions of sense data. This consideration does not necessarily imply acceptance of physicalism: the identification of both "force" and "purpose" as theoretical terms allows one to consider both alternatively as a result of the presence of subjectivity2. Such is the attitude of F. Knight when he considers that terms like "force" represent us within the object of physics: we can never eliminate consciousness from our idea of material things, since we put ourselves in its place to interpret its behaviour. We can distinguish two general approaches to the problem of theoretical terms, in accordance with the above: understanding "purpose" as a kind of "force" (physicalism), or contrarily, to understand "force" as a kind of "purpose" (heuristic view). The first attitude seems to say: "We make theoretical terms for ourselves so that we can remain outside the object to be explained." The second attitude seems to say: "We put ourselves in the stead of the object so that we can understand." These two methods are not mutually exclusive, but complementary. The last is dialectic or synthetic it seeks unity and generality ; the first is positive and analytic it seeks differences and objectivity . As an absolutization of two complementary principles, they would be inadequate and sterile. The dialectic, for tautological emptiness; the positive, for self-destruction of the person of the knower. There is a difference between the two: the dialectic attitude is in fact self- validating on account of its circularism; the positive is self-contradictory, since total objectivity is impossible to achieve. This asymetry can be presented in schematic form: (1) The dialectic approach, in which subjectivity1 predominates over subjectivity2, is self-validating at long range, but is not very fruitful at close range. (2) The positive approach is contradictory at long range, but very useful at close range for particular purposes. The first is unfruitful because nobody is interested in pronouncing tautologies upon immediate problems; this is unavoidable in the last analysis because all language is ultimately circular. The second is, in the end, self-contradictory, because nobody can expect to know anything without being there to know it; it is useful at limited range because every logical inference procedes by making essential, even if transient, use of inconsistencies. This is clear in the case of indirect proof; though none the less so in that of direct proof. For example, the hypothetical syllogism, "pvq, ~p, ∴ q", must form the inconsistency "p • ~p" within the first member of the disjunction, to be able to separate the second member, that is, "q". The absolutization of the dialectic approach is commonly associated with idealism; the absolutization of the analytic approach, with positivism. Between the different attempts to reconcile these two tendencies, that of Talcott Parsons, with his "analytic realism", is numbered. For him, all knowledge is composed of positive categories and residual categories. These point out the necessity for logical closure of the system. Parsons tends to take the residual categories as representatives of the province of another complementary science, so that what would be residual in one science, is positive in another. For my part, I wish to take the residual categories as an expression of the inexhaustible character of reality, or as a representation of the subjective foundation of all formalized thought. In order to assure "empirical openness" in the system, despite its "logical closure", we must take the residual categories not as tokens of our relative ignorance (within the system and in relation to the other paradigm), but of our ignorance as such, ultimately unclarifiable. Logical closure is indispensable because every theory must be self-validating. Empirical openness is indispensable because no theory can be consistent if it does not leave room for continual heuristic advance, and for the operation of alternative paradigms which help it to capture the multiple dimensions of reality· Ambiguity is essential to all knowledge bearing on reality· If one tries to get rid of it entirely, one finishes by destroying all knowledge. One draws precisely and without ambiguity the argument one wants to refute. The clearest exposition of a theory is the one elaborated by its enemies. Why should it be that, after all, the only powerful and completely effective philosophical argument is the reductio ad absurdum? Would it not be because every tenable theory is coherent up to a point, but cannot be consistent and complete as well. It has been argued that coherence cannot be taken as a sufficient criterion for truth, since it can stabilize an erroneous belief. I think that this is an example of incomplete analysis. If we seriously take into account that knowledge has subjective roots, we have to admit that the human imagination is radically limited and that its powers are exhaustible. We have to recognize two classes of imaginative weakness and these weaknesses will be paradoxically our defense against relativism. The first we shall call the quantitative depletion of (available) paradigms . This forces us to con· tent ourselves with the paradigms that we have, which become "necessary". The second is the qualitative depletion of a given paradigm, whose capability to defend itself by theoretical manouevres against adverse evidence may become exhausted. If the range of the beliefs which can reasonably be maintained is reduced by these two "weaknesses", then what would be a criterion of stability of belief can effectively be considered as a criterion of truth. Thus the necessity of a priori propositions is seen not as a product of an intuitive faculty of the human mind, but rather as an in· capacity of the mind to imagine worlds in which these propositions would not be valid. The coherence of an explanation can be so wide in scope, and proximate in character, or so intimately appealing to our aesthetic or pragmatic sense, that the possibility of furnishing a rival paradigm is exhausted for all discernible effects. This quantitative depletion of paradigms points to the rational end of knowledge, to the circularity or self-validation of all theory. On the other hand, this does not force us to accept that any theory can be maintained before any contrary evidence, provided that we make theoretical changes in some part of the system. For there is also the qualitative exhaustion of the paradigms. A paradigm reaches this point whenever it is prevented from defending itself against falsification, since the rest of the system loses fluidity and becomes practically unmodifiable. So the change has to be made here and nowhere else. Certain interpretations of a low hypothetical level cannot be discarded, whatever may be the paradigm we have decided to maintain; consistency cannot therefore be assured in all cases. Here is the positive or empirical end of knowledge, the requisite of verification independent of hypothesis; it is based on the impossibility, in which we find ourselves, of thinking away the normal data of our senses and the results of the basic logical operations. The analysis can still be taken a step further by interpreting the two depletion points of scientific paradigms as themselves being complementary paradigms, in the field of methodology. Heuristic method, on the one hand, and empirical method on the other. The two alternative approaches will be necessary and important. Both should be used, specially because they counteract the excesses of each other: danger of verbal inflation or unwarranted speculation, on the one hand; danger of intellectual depression, annulment of heuristic momentum, on the other. We should cultivate both approaches simultaneously since, even if "inflation is preferable to depression" (as the political economist will say), one ought not to have either. Resumen
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ISSN
ISSN electrónico: 1870-4905; ISSN impreso: 0011-1503

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