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The great philosophy of science war
Social Work Research
Vol. 19, No. 1 (MARCH 1995), pp. 19-23
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42659913
Page Count: 5
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The great philosophy of science war has been waged for centuries regarding the "correct" way to understand human behavior, especially as a basis for helping people help themselves. For Francis Bacon, the correct way involved seeking empirical understanding as the basis for action. For Auguste Comte, the correct way was largely empirical, but with the recognition of the place of the theoretical in science. For Rudolph Carnap, it was largely the logical-theoretical, but with the recognition of the place of the empirical in science. The fourth positivism, here termed the "value positivism" of the human sciences, rejects the metaphysics of its age—which means wholesale rejection of logical positivism. And like every positivism before it, this latest entry into the great philosophy of science war is filled with inconsistencies for which it, too, will be misunderstood, misquoted, and maligned, however much it also helps us to see human behavior more clearly and however much it leads to a more humane and effective helping profession.
Social Work Research © 1995 Oxford University Press