Member # 6
posted 05. April 2003 22:42
An essay I'm working on...
Towards Teleology: Ontology, Methodology and Axiology
According to Larry Laudan, the essential elements of a scientific paradigm include 1. ontology, 2. methodology and 3. axiology. Here I will describe what each of these elements involve.
1. Ontology is a claim about what populates the world. What is there to investigate scientifically?
2. Methodology is the appropriate methods, techniques and tools of inquiry for studying the objects in the relevant domain of application.
3. Axiology is the set of goals or ideals for a paradigm: what we are aiming at in science.
By breaking the notion of paradigm down into these three sub-elements, we get a clearer picture of the nature of scientific paradigms, and just where competing paradigms might differ. In addition, sufficient similarity between any of these sub-elements provide "common ground" from which rational discourse can proceed. When the theories, methods and goals of two competing paradigms are too distant from each other, then it will be difficult for discourse to occur between participants in the various paradigms. However, when sufficient overlap exists, participants from the two scientific frameworks can engage and even influence one another.
My interest here is to consider a generalized ontology, methodology and axiology for a hypothetical paradigm of a teleological science. After developing the features of such a paradigm, I would then like to compare the features of the teleological paradigm with those of the reductive paradigm espoused by Oppenheim and Putnam in their classic "Unity of Science as a Working Hypothesis" and clearly a dominant paradigm throughout the 20th century.
Shift in methodology -> enlightenment exclusion of unobservables (hard core inductive reasoning) -> 1800-1860 -> unobservables common place (hypothetico-deduction)
Example of ontology and methodology -> avoidance of "innate" properties as being "magic" or "ignorance" (methodology required mechanistic/physical explanation relevant to physical features such as shape)-> Newton's theory of gravitation (innate forces (re)introduced into the scientific ontology)
[more to follow...hopefully]