Wissenschaftlicher Realismus (German Edition)

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Additionally the epistemological aspects of the standards in physics and chemistry education are quite similar.

Kuhn and Ian Hacking. The results show the sample of pre-service chemistry teachers to be more attracted to a realistic epistemology then the physics teachers.

Pre-service teachers with realistic stances tend to represent models as direct copies, while less realist persons describe models as tools or instruments. Furthermore, teachers with low-realistic stances discuss the meaning and nature of models more often. During this time, he was able to publish in the Swedish journal Theoria. In , he released Mathematics, Logic and Experience , a small volume based on the lost manuscript.

Kraft was finally reinstated as extraordinary professor in , and at the age of seventy he received the title of ordentlicher Professor full professor at the University of Vienna. He tried to revitalize a kind of reformed logical empiricist philosophy but was unsuccessful; the political climate at that time was as hostile to logical-empirical philosophizing as it had been in the s and s.

He became the academic head of a discussion group of students, which included Paul Feyerabend, who wrote his Ph. Feyerabend served as the student leader of this group. In , Mathematics, Logic and Experience was reprinted in a substantially revised form. Kraft died on January 3, , in Vienna. For Kraft's biography see Kainz []. The historical and thematic context in which Kraft developed his own philosophical position included the critique of immanence philosophy a form of neutral monism developed by Richard Avenarius and Ernst Mach's positivism.

Gibt es eine objektive Realität (Idealismus, Realismus, Konstruktivismus)

Kraft was primarily concerned with defending the assumption of an external world. Kraft presupposes that knowledge must bear practical implications:. The only thing one can do is to make clear why a certain definition of knowledge is chosen, why those traits are regarded as essential for knowledge Erkenntnis. These are not theoretical but practical claims of validity, which must be seen in the context of other ends, that is, that some consequences are preferred, or that some consequences or presuppositions are rejected Kraft , 31, my translation.

Later Kraft explains that the concept of knowledge is determined by human nature; that is, only a concept of knowledge that guarantees an invariant order of knowledge can be generally accepted. Human beings need information about the external world; otherwise, no orientation or human actions are possible. Hence, knowledge must be reliable, and it is reliable if it is not chaotic but ordered according to the laws of logic.

Pragmatic utility is not enough; knowledge consists of invariant order Kraft , The same pattern can be found in his argumentation for a realistic ontology. Kraft states that he does not intend to logically prove the claim for the external world but maintains that the hypothesis of an external world is able to explain any inter- and intrasensual regularity. Examples of intersensual regularities would be: Every time you are served your favourite Indian curry, you recognize its taste and smell; you recognize your cell phone every time it rings.

The latter is an example for an intrasensual regularity. In earlier years the same point was made without referring to developmental psychology compare Kraft , 60, 98 , , ; Kraft , This is an inference to the best explanation. It is, however, not sufficient to simply postulate any explanatory hypothesis; it is also necessary to deduce regular experiential statements from this hypothesis.

He claims that the assumption of the existence of the external world is a condition for explaining experiential regularity.

Silvia Steininger

Any argument against abductive reasoning can be raised against Kraft. The objection that Kraft's argument begs the question is especially important here; he starts with a realist's assumption and tries to explicate the very same assumption.


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The skeptic or positivist cannot be convinced theoretically, and therefore, Kraft relies on praxis. Here, he turns the tables; it is not the realist who has to justify his claim but the positivist because the latter violates our commonly accepted principles of abductive reasoning. Kraft's epistemology cannot be separated from his methodology; his aim is to explicate the epistemological assumptions of any human cognitive practice. Science especially must be emphasized here because it notably fulfills the epistemological requirements mentioned above.

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It is useful to discuss Kraft's philosophy of science by asking four questions:. Explanation is deduction from axioms Kraft , This notion was elaborated by Carl Hempel see Theories of Explanation , sect. The answer is simple. This classical, logical uncertainty is supplemented by pragmatic underdetermination.

In short, if several aims or concepts of knowledge are possible, as we have seen, how can the correctness of the chosen one be established? Kraft's use of words is not modified here for expository reasons.

Additional Information

He mentions several times that any deduction is only valid if the axioms are accepted. He claims that this order is sought because it guarantees technical and theoretical control of experiential facts Erlebnistatsachen. In other words, experience guides the postulation of axioms in an unambiguous manner. Axioms are postulates. In any kind of scientific research, they are the product of scientific genius and intuition or scintillation. Therefore, they cannot be explained and analyzed further.

On the other hand, those very axioms must fulfill a practical task, for example, the explanation of inter- and intrasensual regularities. Immediately the question arises of what explanation consists in, because any set of axioms which does not fulfill its explanatory task cannot be regarded as practically relevant.

Consequently, if those axioms in question do not provide the logical starting point for an explanatory deduction of the above mentioned regularities, they must be dismissed as practically irrelevant.

Marxist philosophy and anthropology

Logical deduction, according to Kraft, is the standard form of a scientific explanation and science provides knowledge. Therefore, in order to establish the fundamental axioms of any form of scientific knowledge, one must refer to a basic or embryonic notion of scientific knowledge. In a nutshell, in order to establish knowledge one must already have knowledge.

This remarkable tension is overlooked by Kraft. The charge of circularity lurks again under the surface of his argumentation because Kraft claims that the axioms are chosen in order to be empirically applicable. However, this is problematic because counter-instances are excluded, and the very idea of falsification of a theory becomes questionable. Experience would lose its power as a corrective instance. Kraft is an empiricist; that is, he sees the basis of any knowledge-claim in experience.

Instead, the sense-datum is embedded in an experiential complex that consists of experiential relations Wahrnehmungsbeziehungen.

Additional information

Moreover, experiential relations are interpreted as signs for external objects. Kraft claimed that there is isomorphism between the class of existential statements implied by the assumption of a mind-independent object and the experiential regularity. If there is no table in my room, neither you nor I will be able to perceive it; I will not be able to perceive any intrasensual, intersensual or intersubjective regularity.

Given tables, flowers and honey bees as ordinary objects, no problems will arise. However, what will happen if electrons, quarks or other highly theoretical entities enter the stage? The layman will perhaps see nothing and will not be able to construct any regularities. This is a corollary to the idea of the theory-ladenness of observation. In his earlier years, however, he makes this point without explicitly referring to psychology but admits that the idea of an objective external world is a necessary prerequisite for any rational construction of knowledge.

To summarize, Kraft argued for the assumption of an external world in order to explain perceptual regularities.

Wissenschaftlicher Realismus

Only because of this is one able to formulate fertile predictions and exclude metaphysical or theistic pseudo- explanations. The most important criticism that can be raised against Kraft's attempt is that it is circular: he argued abductively for realism in order to exclude any form of idealism, solipsism or positivism. This maneuver begins with perceived regularities that demand explanation; however, these very regularities are the basis for his empiricist philosophy of science.

Kraft rejected any other pseudo- explanation of these regularities. He upholds realism as an inference to the best explanation, and in so doing, he was able to formulate a criterion for rejecting non-realistic interpretations of regularity. Hence, his ontology and philosophy of science are entangled, to say the least.

This reveals once again that the postulation of axioms cannot be a free decision but is at least partly guided by meta-theoretical considerations and leads quite naturally to Kraft's moral philosophy, especially because the concept of knowledge is regarded as a normative concept. Kraft was not only a philosopher; he was also trained in geography. He studied under Albrecht Penck, an outstanding geographer who specialized in physical geography and geomorphology.

It can be argued that Kraft developed his methodology in part as a result of his association with Penck. As a discipline, geography was at least in German-speaking countries in an uncertain state. Is geography a generalizing science or merely descriptive? The following table illustrates these challenges:. That is, scientific explanation is deducing singular statements from general laws.