Has the emergence of post-positivism in philosophy of science changed the terms of the “is/ought” dichotomy? If it has demonstrated convincingly that there are no “facts” apart from the theoretical frames and evaluative standards constructing them, can such a cordon sanitaire really be upheld between “facts” and values? The point I wish to stress is that philosophy of science has had a central role in constituting and imposing the fact/value dichotomy and a revolution in the philosophy of science should not leave the dichotomy unaffected. The connection between post-positivism and naturalism will be my guiding thread in considering this “last dogma of positivism.” First this essay will specify the sense of naturalism that it will take to be essential to the post-positivist philosophy of science: the deflation of the notion of the “purity” of scientific knowledge. Then it will turn to the question of the implications that follow for the “autonomy” of ethics, including the danger posed by a new form of scientistic reductionism.
See Alexandre KoyréFrom the Closed World to the Infinite Universe (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press1957); E. A. Butt Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul 1949).
Max Weber“Politics as a Vocation,” in From Max Webered. Kurt Wolff (New York: Oxford University Press 1946) pp. 77–128 there p. 122. On the enormous impact of Weber’s concern with “value-free” social science see Sue Stedman-Jones “Fact/Value” in Chris Jenks (ed.) Core Sociological Dichotomies (London; Thousand Oaks CA; New Delhi: Sage 1998) pp. 49–62.
Barry Stroud“The Charm of Naturalism,”Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association70 (1996) 43–55; Michael Friedman “Philosophical Naturalism” Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 71 (1997) 7–21; Henry Allison “We Can Act Only under the Idea of Freedom” Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 71 (1997) 39–50.
Alex Rosenberg“A Field Guide to Recent Species of Naturalism,”British Journal of the Philosophy of Science47 (1996) 1–29. A conspectus that I find vastly more compelling is Philip Kitcher “The Naturalists Return” Philosophical Review 101 (1992) 53–114.
Hilary Kornblith“Naturalizing Epistemology and Its Critics,”Philosophical Topics23 (1995) 237–255esp. 239. See Kornblith’s trend-setting anthology Naturalizing Epistemology 2nd ed. (Cambridge MA: MIT Press 1994) and Peter French Theodore Uehling and Howard Wettstein (eds.) Philosophical Naturalism (Notre Dame IN: University of Notre Dame Press 1994) for extensive deployments and disputations of current naturalism.
Mario Biagioli (ed.)The Science Studies Reader (New York: Routledge1999); Jan Golinski Making Natural Knowledge: Constructivism in the History of Science (New York: Cambridge University Press 1998); Peter Galison and David Stump (eds.) The Disunity of Science: Boundaries Contexts and Power (Stanford: Stanford University Press 1996); and Werner Callebaut Taking the Naturalist Turn or How Real Philosophy of Science is Done (Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press 1993).
Philip Kitcher“The Naturalists Return” (see above, n. 60), 76, 63. Bonnie Tamarkin Paller observes, similarly, “The failure to provide adequate rules . . . has encouraged many philosophers to conclude that there are no unchanging, essential, and transcontextual rules which are discoverable a priori” (Paller, “Naturalized Philosophy of Science, History of Science, and the Internal/External Debate,”PSA 1986vol. 1 258–268 there 258).
Larry Laudan“Progress or Rationality? The Prospects for Normative Naturalism,”American Philosophical Quarterly24 (1987) 19–31; Laudan “Relativism Naturalism and Reticulation” Synthese 71 (1987) 221–234; Laudan “Normative Naturalism” Philosophy of Science 57 (1990) 44–59. For the critical reception see e.g. Alexander Rosenberg “Normative Naturalism and the Role of Philosophy” Philosophy of Science 57 (1990) 34–43; Jarrett Leplin “Renormalizing Epistemology” Philosophy of Science 57 (1990) 20–33; Harvey Siegel “Laudan’s Normative Naturalism” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 21 (1990) 295–313; Adam Grobler “Between Rationalism and Relativism: On Larry Laudan’s Model of Scientific Rationality” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 41 (1990) 493–507; Gerald Doppelt “Laudan’s Pragmatic Alternative to Positivist and Historicist Theories of Science” Inquiry 24 (1981) 253–271; Doppelt “Relativism and Recent Pragmatic Conceptions of Scientific Rationality” in Nicholas Rescher (ed.) Scientific Explanation and Understanding: Essays on Reasoning and Rationality in Science (Lanham MD: University Press of America 1983) pp. 107–142; Doppelt “Relativism and the Reticulation Model of Scientific Rationality” Synthese 69 (1981) 225–252; Doppelt “The Naturalist Conception of Methodological Standards in Science: A Critique” Philosophy of Science 57 (1990) 1–19; and Harold Brown “Normative and Naturalized Epistemology” Inquiry 31 (1988) 53–78.
Bruno LatourScience in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press1987); see Steven Shapin “Following Scientists Around” Social Studies of Science 18 (1988) 533–550 and my A Nice Derangement of Epistemes (see above n. 50) pp. 183–202.
See A. N. Prior“The Autonomy of Ethics,”Australasian Journal of Philosophy38 (1960) 199–206; Frank Jackson “Defining the Autonomy of Ethics” Philosophical Review 83 (1974) 88–96; Charles Pidgen “Logic and the Autonomy of Ethics” Australasian Journal of Philosophy 67 (1989) 127–151.
See Arthur Caplan (ed.)The Sociobiology Debate (New York: Harper & Row1978); Philip Kitcher Vaulting Ambition: Sociobiology and the Quest for Human Nature (Cambrige MA: MIT Press 1985); David Buller Adapting Minds: Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature (Cambridge MA: MIT Press 2005); Ullica Segerstråle Defenders of the Truth: The Sociobiology Debate (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2000).
Joachim FischerPhilosophische Anthropologie: eine Denkrichtung des 20. Jahrhunderts (Freiburg; Munich: Verlag Karl Alber2009); Jakob von Uexküll A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans: With A Theory of Meaning (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press 2010).
Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle StengersOrder Out of Chaos (Toronto: Bantam1984); Stuart Kauffman The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution (New York; Oxford; Oxford University Press 1993); Susam Oyama Paul Griffiths and Russell Gray (eds.) Cycles of Contingency: Developmental Systems and Evolution (Cambridge MA: MIT Press 2001).