Thursday, June 26, 2014

Money Wisdom #280

"Windelband's understanding of the place of value in epistemology introduced a challenge to positivist ideals, since he was dissatisfied with the philosophical grounding of objectivity. The aspiration of positivism to lead the human sciences to the naturalistic ideal required a value system that would order the respective inquiries. Positivism's approach depended on a dichotomy between facts and values, the objective and subjective ways of knowing, respectively (Putnam 2002). Long before the current post-Kuhnian views of the value structure of science achieved wide acceptance (Tauber 2009), Windelbund would ask, What is the relationship of facts and values? What is the standing of 'facts', and how are they qualified? Where did 'value', specifically in reference to the human sciences, find its philosophical place? The ability to define or maintain a system of values to support the notions of a radically objective science (Tauber 2009) rested upon the fact/value distinction (traditionally strung on an objective/subjective axis), but the basic division could not be maintained, because facts assume their meaning through a much wider constellation of values than the particular objectivist values positivists embraced. Indeed, facts attain their standing through the values that structure the very acquisition of data, and another array of values determine their significance and meaning. On this view, the dichotomy of 'facts' (products of a stark objectivity) and 'values' (typically construed as subjective) collapses in analytic practice. (This line of criticism proved important, since the collapse of the fact/value distinction became the fulcrum of positivism's fall in the last half of the twentieth century).

Albert Tauber Freud - The Reluctant Philosopher (2010) p.106

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