The paper addresses the issue of theory-ladenness of observation/experimentation. Motivated by a naturalistic reading of Thomas Kuhn's insights into the same topic, I draw on cognitive neuroscience (predictive coding under Free Energy Principle) to scrutinise theory-ladenness. I equate theory-ladenness with the cognitive penetrability of perceptual inferences and argue that strong theory-ladenness prevails only under uncertain circumstances. This understanding of theory-ladenness is in line with Thomas Kuhn's view on the same subject as well as a cognitive version of modest realism rather than downright antirealism.
AbstractRecent years have seen enticing empirical approaches to solving the epistemological problem of the theory-ladenness of observation. I group these approaches in two categories according to their method of choice: testing and refereeing. I argue that none deliver what friends of theory-neutrality want them to. Testing does not work because both evidence from cognitive neuroscience and perceptual pluralism independently invalidate the existence of a common observation core. Refereeing does not work because it treats theory-ladenness as a kind of superficial, removable bias. Even if such treatment is plausible, there is likely no method to ascertain that effects of this bias are not present. More importantly, evidence from cognitive neuroscience suggests that a deeper, likely irremovable kind of theory-ladenness lies within the perceptual modules.
In this essay, I have attempted to defense the possibility of objectivity in case of social science research. It is basically an evaluation of Max Weber’s interpretation in maintaining the possibility of objectivity in social science. There is a long tradition in the philosophy of social science maintaing a sharp distinction between social science and natural science in terms of both goals as well as method; and there is no doubt about that natural sciences have the higher degree of objectivity in comparison with social science. It is not possible to maintain absolute objectivity in case of social science research. But, by following some tricksit is possible to make a social inquiry more reliable and justifiable.This paper aims to improve such tricks as well as such a unique methodology adopted by Max Weber through which it is possible to maintain objectivity in social science as well as to establish social science as a successful science.
Keywords: Max Weber, Objectivity, Social Science, Natural Science, Value-free Ideal, Theory-Ladenness, Value-Neutrality
A typical scientist has no responsibility other than to explain how a natural event occurred. However, when a philosopher asks about the conditions under which a scientist’s explanation is true, he is, in fact, raising an ultimate question, the concept which Karl Popper used for the first time. Answering this question requires that no elements are neglected in the explanation, and no significant factors in the explanation are overlooked. In other words, in explainingphenomenon, at any level of its explanation, there should be no remainder. These requirements can be achieved through the full explanation. In the present article, by drawing on concepts such as theory-ladenness of observation, underdetermination of theory by evidence, and the role of models and metaphors in developing a scientific theory, it is illustrated thatcomplete explanation includes both a scientific explanation and personal explanation. A personal explanation comprises mental properties such as belief, desire, and intention, which are irreducible to physical properties. Therefore, we cannot provide a personal explanation while restricting ourselves to scientific methods. Consequently, it is argued in this article first, the personal explanation is irreducible to a scientific explanation. Second, the personal explanation is inevitable in order to provide a full explanation. Third, (methodological) naturalists claim that the ultimate judgment of what is natural and unnatural is possible only by scientific inquiry. Finally, accepting these three premises entails the inability of a naturalist to answer ultimate questions.
When Bradley Lewis announced in 2014 that psychiatry needed to make a "narrative turn", he backed up his appeal as follows: (1) the different explanatory models of mental disorders that are currently competing in psychiatry tell us different stories about mental health; (2) none of these stories has the privilege of being the only true one, and its alternatives the wrong ones; (3) the choice of a model in each case should be made in dialogue with the patient in order to ensure that the model will be chosen that best meets the patient’s goals and desires and, accordingly, would best support the process of recovery. The latter suggestion, however, is not easy to follow when the patients’ subjective goals and desires diverge from the clinical goal of returning the patients to a normal way of life, as is the case with the so-called factitious disorders. The problem is worsened by the theory-ladenness of the interpretations of patients’ first-person narratives. This paper argues against a common assumption that biases our understanding of abnormal behavior, in particular the behavior of those who feign illness. The assumption in question is the following: that such behavior satisfies certain – possibly unknown – psychological needs.
A point by point response to Wiebe’s ‘Manifesto’, mostly in support of the ‘methodological naturalism’—with added precautions on the current use of the term ‘science’. A philosophy for the study of religion is called for, with an epistemological range that caters for collective methodologies and social ontologies; respects the analytic distinction between ‘subject matter’ and ‘theoretical object’—and, ultimately, the theory-ladenness of all talk about ‘religion’. Naturalism is not about givens in the study of meaningful human behavior.
Chapter 3 explains how perceptions are like actions in that some are, for a given perceiver at a given time, basic and others not. In neither case are the relevant by-relations—seeing x by seeing y and doing one thing by doing another—inferential. It is shown, however, that these points allow for our concepts and theories to influence perception. Several interpretations of theory-ladenness are described, and the chapter argues that perception itself is not inferential or, necessarily, theory-laden in depending on a theory or theoretical concepts. Our theories can influence what we perceive, particularly by leading us to see something as a theory says it is; but much as action constitutes a direct way in which, however complicated the causal underpinnings, we intervene in the world, perception constitutes a direct way in which, however long and complicated the causal conditions for it, the world intervenes in the mind.