Author Archives: Rafe

The Austrian Keys

By Leo Dunbar, Age Monthly Review, Melbourne 1985. The economic affairs of many countries and the dismal science itself are in a very sorry state. Shortsighted protectionist policies in Western countries aided by ideologically crazed dictators at home have destroyed the … Continue reading

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Hayek as a critical rationalist

F A Hayek: Economics, Political Economy and Social Philosophy  by Peter Boettke of the George Mason  University is hot off the press. The subtitle signals three phases in Hayek’s career, first   fundamental economic theory from roughly 1920 to 1940, then the … Continue reading

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Notes on Thomas Trzyna’s book Karl Popper and Literary Theory: Critical Rationalism as a Philosophy of Literature

This is an academic defence of the rational and humanistic tradition in literary studies that is out of favour in the universities at present where the humanities and social sciences have been radically politicised by the left. There may not be … Continue reading

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Commentary on the worldview of Pope Francis

Pope Francis and the Caring Society edited by Robert M Whaples, Independent Institute, Oakland Calif, 2017. The question “is the pope a Catholic?” used to be rhetorical but tragically that is no longer the case in light of the concessions … Continue reading

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The Duhem Problem: The Bayesian Turn

CHAPTER 3 of my thesis Aspects of the Duhem Problem. The previous chapter concluded with an account of the attempt by Lakatos to retrieve the salient features of falsificationism while accounting for the fact that a research programme may proceed … Continue reading

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Stephen Toulmin on Popper

Given the high marks assigned to Toulmin for his commentary on Kuhn and the affinity of his program with that of Popper (evolutionary epistemology vs formalism) , what does he say about Popper? The short answer is that he dismissed … Continue reading

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More on Stephen Toulmin and Kuhn

Finishing the story of Toulmin’s critique of Kuhn. He traced the evolution of Kuhn’s ideas through five stages (1) his account in The Copernican Revolution (1957), (2) a public talk about revolutions at Worcester College in Oxford in 1961, (3) … Continue reading

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A note on Stephen Toulmin as a critic of Kuhn and the logical positivists

Stephen Toulmin 1922-2009 was a British-born philosopher, heavily influenced by Wittgenstein but also a full bottle on the history and philosophy of science. In 1972 he published Human Understanding:  General Introduction and Part I: The Collective Use and Evolution of … Continue reading

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The Cost of Positivism in the 20th Century

Toby Huff in Max Weber and the Methodology of the Social Scienes (Transaction Books, 1984) suggested that the philosophy of science that Weber was reading read at the turn of the century was in better shape than the positivism that … Continue reading

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Jacques Barzun. A brilliant career

Jacques Barzun (1907 – 2012) was probably best known for his writing on education at all levels until Dawn to Decadence reminded people of the remarkable breadth and depth of his scholarship. He specialised in the cultural history of modern … Continue reading

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