Position Paper in World Economy
Logic and Philosophy of Social Science
The Aristotelian Approach
To achieve the objectivity necessary for truly scientific insight in social science, economists and sociologists will have to come to the realisation of the Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and Quatric concepts of empirical economics and their relationships.
The Primary concept is, in fact, a faculty - the faculty of discriminative thinking. Without the concept of a robust thinking faculty firmly grounded in the commonsense of economic life little can be achieved that is experienced to be empirically economic as opposed to theoretically economic.1
The secondary concepts of such an economic science are "disassociation" and "association". Disassociation from the ecology of the nature base, from common humanity, from global social aspirations is everywhere evident and experienced in the world economy. The lack of understanding of the level of Secondary concepts in pure social science has meant that applied social science (politics, economics, sociology) has grasped only one side of an equation.
This fault line runs all the way through applied economics from top to bottom. However it is visible at the secondary concept level in all the social sciences (except politics), where the leading concepts are only one half of what is necessary for truly empirical social science.
Psychology Disassociation (of self from the individual entelechy)
Sociology Alienation (of self from society)
Economics Disassociation (of economic life from the earth)
In economic science the distinction to be drawn is between disassociated economics (theoretical) and hence disassociative economic praxis and associated economics (practical) and hence associative economic praxis. Disassociation and Association are the secondary and cardinal, ie gateway concepts in economics. (In Psychology disassociation and integration are the secondary and cardinal concepts .2 In Politics tyranny and robust democracy are the secondary and cardinal concepts).3
In the Aristotelian methodological approach both cardinal concepts must be taken into account at the secondary level.4 The economist who wishes to heal the illnesses and imbalances in world economy has to be able
a) to make the distinction
b) maintain it
c) develop the mobility in thought to move between the two
This distinction stands above, ie is at a higher scientific level, than all the "isms" of economics - capitalism, socialism, Marxism, Thatcherism, Three-foldism, etc.
The distinction, when drawn, casts light on numerous problems in economics and economic science can then proceed to the Tertiary concepts of economics, of which there are two sets, in a completely new spirit of objectivity. Firstly the three factors of economic life, production, consumption and distribution which are only static concepts representing the threefold dynamic of actual producers, consumers and distributors. Secondly, Land, Labour, Capital which are also only static concepts representing actual human activity. From thence to the Quatric concepts of economic science - money, tax, interest, credit, debt etc., etc.
The Platonic approach in the social sciences is not capable of delivering empirical economic science. Modern "Three-fold" economists and sociologists, ie those who derive their social thinking from forms of idealism represent weak scientific thinking in world economy.5
To understand that there is not a paradigm but a spiritual archetype of associative economics, economists have to compare and contrast associative and disassociative economics in world economy. This is the Aesthetics of Economics. This demands that movement is brought into thinking and into the handling of the concepts such that the median and mediatory pathway through economic problems is allowed to emerge out of the process of "weighing and balancing". (see note 4)
The rigours of the Aristotelian approach demand the ability to distinguish concepts within the Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and Quatric categories A concept of the Quatric category, for example, "money", can then be brought up into the domain of the Tertiary economic concepts and on into the domain of the Secondary and Cardinal concepts and be made to show its dual nature and implications.
This allows understanding to develop of where economic praxis has failed to take account of the dual nature of all of its concepts.
The mobility of the Aristotelian methodological approach requires the Primary concept to be able to penetrate all the other categories at will and to be able to work with comparisons and contrasts that will reveal novel, bold and imaginative conjectural solutions to problems in world economy. This meets Popper's demand for fertility of imagination and the courage to conjecture boldly in pure science. 6 If the methodological approach remains too rigidly intellectual, that is, becomes overpowered by the concepts and categories themselves, (as the masculine intellect often does), then obviously no fertility of ideas results.7 The secret of the Aristotelian approach is in the mobility of disciplined thinking not in the rigidity of the concepts.
1 See Thomas Reid and the Scottish School of Philosophy for detail of the philosophic debate waged in Scotland, and involving Adam Smith, regarding the true nature of empiricism and the weak idealism infecting 17th, 18th and then 19th & 20th century science.
With particular relevance to this research is Reid?s grounding of Philosophy, and all that stems from it, in commonsense, and Hume?s triumph in proving the logical absurdity of weak idealism in empirical scientific methodology, Kant notwithstanding.
See also The Democratic Intellect by George Elder Davie, Edinburgh University Press 1961 (in the series History, Philosophy and Economics) for an account of Scotland and Her Universities in the 19th century. The debate regarding the true nature of empiricism waged throughout the philosophy and other departments of the Scottish Universities and comprises the Scottish Enlightenment. An enlightenment that coincided with the first conscious ethnic cleansing of an indigenous people, the Gaels, conducted for theoretical economic gain (the Clearances). This ethnic cleansing in Scotland ran parallel with British colonial expansionism in India. Aspects of the debate continue today in British University politics, the fight for the survival of the Scottish educational impulse, the fight for commonsense in politics and economics. Ethnic cleansing for socio/ politico/economic gain continues unabated in the world.
2 For an exposition of the fundamental flaw in western scientific thinking since Descartes, see Human Minds, An Exploration by Margaret Donaldson, Allen Lane, London 1992. This work in Developmental Psychology, takes Psychological Science well into the 21st Century eclipsing the work of the so-called "fathers" of Psychology, Freud and Jung. It forms a clearly structured bridge from the discipline of Psychology to the subject matter of Religious Studies as it has been developed in Lancaster University (England) and the West Coast American Universities, and has been introduced into and studied in Universities with the courage to free the discipline of Religious Studies from Theological domination within Theology Departments.
3 Popper has successfully described the cardinal concepts of Political Science in The Open Society and its Enemies, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, first published in 1945.
4 Understanding of the fulcrum point in weighing the two concepts and beginning to move them in the balance of thought is contained in the meditative philosophy of Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, recognised in her lifetime as one of the most brilliant and original minds of 20th century French philosophy. This study attempts to follow through her line of thinking, both in her Metaphysics and Social Philosophy. She fought in the Spanish Civil War. She was asked by De Gaulle, at the age of 32, to reshape the social devastation of a post-war France that would be riven by collaboration with the enemy. She gladly undertook this task as the opportunity to bring her metaphysics into the domain of social healing. She had spent the war, being Jewish, in reluctant exile in firstly the United States then with the Free French in England. She undertook the work but died in its production at the age of 34 in 1943.
It is not possible to understand the Aristotelian mean without Gravitas and Grace, the epitome of which is the thought and actions of Simone Weil.
See Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, Routledge & Kegan Paul, first published 1952, and also The Need for Roots, Prelude to a Declaration of Duties Towards Mankind, same publisher, (Ark Imprint.)
5 See The Open Society and Its Enemies, Karl K.Popper, for the demolition of the Platonic influence in social science.
6 See Conjectures and Refutations, The Growth of Scientific Knowledge, Karl R.Popper, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London 1963.
7 See The Advancement of Learning and New Atlantis by Francis Bacon, (first published 1605), Oxford University Press, and The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Karl R. Popper, for a historical explication of this phenomenon. Supplementary reading of the work of Hempel, Kuhn, Feyerabend and Reichenbach in Philosophy of Science makes it easier to understand the battle between Newton and Goethe in Natural Science in the 18th & 19th centuries.
The Growth of Scientific Knowledge, Popper and Reichenbach, Understanding the Battle of the Probability Theorists and Its Results B. Gardiner, unpublished paper in the Logic of Scientific Discovery, Edin. 1990. for a defence of Popper against Reichenbach and the Inductive Logicians (Keynes, Carnap et. al) of the 20th century.
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The knee that is stiff, O Healer, make pliant,
The heart that is hard make warm beneath Thy wing,
The soul that is wandering from the path of Thy Spirits
Grasp Thou his helm and he shall not die.
Each thing that is foul cleanse Thou it early,
Each thing that is hard soften Thou it with Thy grace,
Each wound that is working us pain, O Best of Healers,
Make Thou it whole.From the Gaelic
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