Critical Dialectics for the Social Sciences. Towards a mediation of Critical Realism and Critical Theory

JVF Conference Papers

In many ways, the 20th century was the age of applied science.

The gradual shift towards a “knowledge society” is not only noticeable in the realm of application, it is also pivotal in philosophy, namely the “linguistic turn” and the triumph of a logically sedimented empiricist analytical philosophy of science I would interpret this success of a particularly “Anglo-Saxon” view on science as precise, ordered, logical as a broader movement, which is intrinsically connected to societal developments on a large scale and largely associated with questions of productive forces and their role in shaping the historical ways of thinking.

Without being able to go deeper into this matter, I would argue, that it is just logical, that this success gradually affected not only the “precise” and natural sciences (where its origins lay), but also the social sciences. In this light, another important strand, the all too “continental” dialectical approach, became more and more subordinated as a theoretical fundament for social science and with the decline of “leftist philosophy”, mainly that of the Frankfurt School, it started to lose any recognition in scientific practice. In this article, I want to argue that this is a mistake, as it omits major problems in the analytical tradition just as it neglects certain virtues of critical dialectics, which considerably enhance critical social science as such.

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