Science in Christian Perspective



Theoretical Pluralism and the Dreams of Childhood: An Immoderate Proposal for Christian Sociologies
Gordon College
Wenham, MA 01984

From: JASA 36 (June 1984): 74-80.
The author wishes to thank the Institute for Advanced Christian Studies for the stimulus to write this paper. It was originally presented at an IFACS conference on Christianity and Sociology at Wheaton College (111.).

Recent developments in the philosophy of science strongly suggest that a realistic notion of science requires some form of theoretical pluralism. The implications of this idea for Christian thinking in sociology are explored, and it is proposed that pluralism is a strength rather than a defect in sociology. Christian sociologists may legitimately use theoretical pluralism as a means of gaining professional respectability for sociological theories devised under the influence of Christian control beliefs, but only if those theories give rise to responsible and fruitful research programs.

From Naivete' to Criticism

An essential part of (scientific) training is the inhibition c!f intuitions that might lead to a blurring of boundaries. A person s religion, for example, or his metaphysics, or his sense of humor must not have the slightest connection with his scientific activity. 1

Far from eliminating dogma and metaphysics and thereby encouraging progress, modern empiricism has found a new way of making dogma and metaphysics respectable, viz., the way of calling them "well-conf irmed theories."2

The myth of neutrality in science appears to have been laid to rest. Even if that resting place is not final, at least the current is running strongly against any immediate resurrection. The myth was that, except for a few methodological assumptions like the orderly nature of their subject matters, the sciences are indifferent to the big questions about values and reality. The values and metaphysical views of the culture or the individual scientist were not to intrude upon the doing of science. Scientific inquiry, the formation of empirical generalizations and theories, could be carried on without reference to any prior assumptions (except those few methodological ones referred to above).

This view has fallen from favor among most serious students of the scientific enterprise.3 Its demise may be outlined in a series of assertions arranged in a logical progression, This progression is not a chronological one, for many of the positions described have been held simultaneously in scholarly circles. Furthermore none of the positions has precipitated universal agreement among those who study the structure of scientific inquiry.

(1) The neutralist view of science is not adequate because it fails to take account of the role that creative and imaginative conjectures play in scientific inquiry.

When I received my first chemistry set I thought that the apex of scientific activity consisted of mixing chemicals together at random to see what would happen. Mercifully, nothing remarkable ever did. This naive view of experimentation was eventually discarded for the more interesting ideas in the lab manual.

The scientist (contra the "scientist" of the chemistry set) rarely engages in random f act gathering or undirected, uncontrolled experimentation. Such fact collecting might appear to be free of assumptions or neutral, but it would stand very little chance of being fruitful.4 To be fruitful, observation must be directed to relevant data. But relevance can be determined only by reference to some set of assumptions about what is likely to prove important; that is, by reference to some hypothesis or conjecture about how to account for some phenomena or solve some problem.

Furthermore, because observable phenomena are viewed as consequences of some hypothetical states of affairs which are not observable, but conjectured, the scientist gives a lot of consideration to laws, entities, and events which could never be read directly from experience.5 Hypotheses organize experiences by introducing into our thought life such strange and wonderful new notions as curved space, social class, black holes, libidinous ids, and variously "colored" subatomic events. None of these notions could have been introduced into science if the neutralist view were correct.

(2) Not just any conjecture counts as a scientific hypothesis, but only those which are open to empirical falsification.

It is prima facie the case that many of our beliefs consist of conjectures which are not scientific. If we are to permit conjectures in science, surely we must distinguish them from non-scientific conjectures in some way. Experience seems at first glance to be the key. Metaphysical, religious and pseudoscientific hypotheses look informative, but perhaps this appearance is misleading. Perhaps although they look informative, their lack of empirical character can be shown by their inability to imply verifiable predictions.

This tack was taken by a sizable group of thinkers and practically canonized by the logical positivists, but it is pretty clearly wrong. The problem with non-scientific beliefs, as Karl Popper has pointed out, is not that they cannot be verified, but that they can be indefinitely verified.6 Any and every experience can be construed as a verification. Ponder the ancient Greek for whom the rising sun was each morning an empirical confirmation that the chariot of Apollo was once more making its appointed journey or the astrologer whose predictions about the latest presidential election are fulfilled.

Popper, therefore, has argued that it is their susceptibility to being falsified, not verified, by observation that defines the scientific character of a conjecture.7 A conjecture about God, man, society or the world fails to qualify as scientific insofar as one cannot specify observation statements with which it is incompatible.

(3) Because value and world view commitments predispose observers to interpret data in certain ways, empirical falsification of scientific theories is problematic.

It has become widely accepted that the terms used in observation statements cannot be defined without reference to some theory. As it is sometimes put, we do not simply "see" things, we see them "as things of certain kinds." All seeing is 1. seeing-as" or interpretive (in the light of some theory).8 Furthermore, as Lakatos has pointed out, at least some of the components of any such observation statement are untestable by observation and hence nonscientific or metaphysical.9

In his now famous study, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,"10 Thomas Kuhn advanced the notion that the interpretive nature of all observation necessitates agreement within a community of scientists about what set of f undamental categories and imagery (Kuhn's "paradigm") is to be used by scientists in viewing their subject matters and defining what will count as problems for research (Kuhn's "normal science"). In short, researchers can make progress only by sharing a way of seeing. While there may be research into the best way to extend the imagery of the paradigm most fruitfully into new areas of inquiry (Kuhn calls this "puzzle solving"), scientific research does not set out to falsify a paradigm. It is, in fact, doubtful that it could do so, for the very categories of the research have been fixed by the paradigm. The most that empirical considerations could do would be to make adherents to a given paradigm uncomfortable because it was taking so long to find a way to bring a given area of data into line with the paradigm, (this situation Kuhn calls an "anomaly").

Kuhn's thesis that progress in science requires high level agreement among scientists on substantive issues (such as what sort of explanations are possible and what sorts of theoretical terms may be employed) makes science an enterprise in which at least part of its structure is indistinguishable from metaphysics and value comm.itments. The fact that a scientific theory is not decisively falsifiable blurs the line by which science was to be demarcated from non-science.

(4) The longer a scientific theory is held, the more difficult it is for its adherents to "see" any important facts which contradict it; therefore, a proliferation of rival theories is scientifically indispensible.

The dissolution of the line of demarcation between science and non-science is a cause for considerable concern in some quarters. To some the admission that observation has value and metaphysical components (is "value-laden" and "theoretically contaminated") endangers the objectivity of the scientific enterprise altogether.11 it is not difficult to see how this concern arises. If scientists cannot avoid metaphysical and value commitments in their inquiry, commitments which ultimately affect their assessment and even viewing of the data, then scientists with different assumptions will not be able to agree even on matters which are scientific. Kuhn goes even farther when he claims that different paradigms are not even capable of being compared (are "incommensurable"), that scientists "fail to make logical contact" when they argue about the relative merits of their respective theories.

Kuhn observes that recognizable progress in science requires the elimination of competing paradigms and agreement within the scientific community on what paradigm under which to operate. Such a "normal science" is not (indeed cannot be) achieved by rational argument or appeal to evidence in Kuhn's view. It is a social- political process which can be described but which is not rational in the philosopher's (or traditional scientific) sense of rational. But to advocate buying the possibility of progress by monolithic agreement within the scientific community is to condemn that scientific endeavor to a set of spectacles which in the long run will make the community unwilling or incapable of seeing, or even imagining, any alternatives to its view, let alone seriously entertaining them. 12 At this point science will

Sociologists, far from lagging behind the physical sciences by tolerating theoretical pluralism within their professional ranks, would in this view actually be in an epistemically superior position relative to those normal" sciences.

not only be metaphysics, it will be in Feyerabend's words - petrified metaphysics"-a view of the world that is virtually immune to criticism or change.13

An alternative to the epistemic twilight of "petrified metaphysics" has been advanced principally by Imre Lakatos and Paul Feyerabend.14 This involves the proliferation and critical comparison of alternative theories, no matter how odd or outrageous they may seem. (Anything not in agreement with the normal view will always seem odd or outrageous). New views ought not to suffer in any way for their novelty. Each must be given time to implement its program of research, and to develop and extend its paradigm. Even initial negative results must be set aside. Feyerabend notes that at an early stage of development

It would be imprudent to give up a theory that either is inconsistent with observational results or suffers from internal difficulties. Theories can be developed and improved, and their relation to observation is also capable of modification. It took considerable time until the relation of the kinetic theory to the "fact" of irreversibility was properly understood, and research in this direction still proceeds. Moreover, it would be a complete surprise if it turned out that all the available experimental results support a certain theory, even if the theory were true. Different observers using different experimental equipment and different methods of interpretation introduce idiosyncrasies and errors of their own, and it takes a long time until all these differences are brought to a common denominator. 15

He calls this willingness to stick to a theory during its immaturity in spite of difficulties the "principle of tenacity. "

Only after considerable development is it possible to compare theories and assess their relative strengths. Perhaps one brief example of how such critical comparison might operate would be helpful.16 Suppose an established theory (T') explains a body of data with a minimum of difficulties. It would be irrational to depose T' simple because of these difficulties; they may overcome by later developments. But suppose an alternative theory (T a) is permitted to develop. Suppose further that T a is inconsistent with T', but that T' (1) explains a range of data comparable to T', (2) provides a way to remove the difficulties from which T' suffered, and (3) opens up directions of research which were invisible to adherents of T'. Under such conditions it would be rational to favor T' over T. It is even possible to specify conditions under which T' might acutally create previously unperceived difficulties for T' by permitting us to see that a phenomenon which seemed unrelated to T' was really a piece of counter data.17 None of this could happen, however, unless rival theories are permitted to mature unmolested. Feyerabend Salls this the "principle of proliferation." It makes possible effective criticism of the tenaciously held theories."18

It must be granted that the scientific scene would become considerably more chaotic than it now is if the principle of proliferation were observed. This, however, would be a small price to pay for the wholesome criticism such pluralism would restore, a criticism, be it noted, which does not require that scientists engage in the philosophical wheel-spinning of debate over the foundations of their discipline. That is not to say that all philosophical debate is wheel-spinning (or I would hardly find it worthwhile writing this), but some is, and I suspect debate over what the proper paradigm is in a given science may be an example. In any case, my colleagues in philosophy may be appeased somewhat by my pointing out that in this paper I have long ago dispensed with any hard and fast dividing line between science and philosophy, so the creation of new paradigms becomes itself fair play for philosophers.19 Feyerabend, in fact, calls this whole process of proliferation and criticism "critical metaphysics" (in contrast to "petrified metaphysics").20 It hardly needs to be pointed out how far we have come from the myth of neutrality at this point.

Sociology as Critical Metaphysics

If some of the results of this method are less than epochmaking, its proponents candidly admit that their science is in the pre-Galilean stage. At present they are energetically assembling great quantities of facts, and they are waiting for a Galileo or a Newton to set up some "Laws," or establish conceptions, by which the whole thing will tumble together and make a tight logical system like physics. No one has done this yet, or comes anywhere near doing it. The claims of these studies to be a science are based on What Science Hasn't Yet Begun to Do.21

In his encyclopedic A Sociology of Sociology,22 Robert Friedrichs has attempted to extend Kuhn's analysis of the physical sciences to sociology. Though his book is suggestive and provocative, rather than conclusive, it does document a condition of current sociology which Kuhn had noted much earlier among social scientists in general. Commenting on his period of residence at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences he states,

Spending the year in a community composed predominantly of social scientists confronted me with unanticipated problems about the differences between such communities and those of the natural scientists among whom I had been trained. Particularly, I was struck by the number and extent of the overt disagreements between social scientists about the nature of legitimate scientific problems and methods.23

Kuhn goes on to say that he did not believe that practitioners in the natural sciences had "firmer or more permanent answers to such questions" than social scientists. He was struck by the question, then, of why social scientists are embroiled in controversy over these issues while natural scientists are not. The answer which he came to propose (in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions) was that in the physical sciences research is carried out under "universally recognized scientific achievements that for a time provide model problems and solutions to a community of practitioners" (a paradigm).24 In the community of researchers, physical scientists share a single paradigm; they operate in what Kuhn calls "normal science." Social scientists do not.

At this point Friedrichs departs from Kuhn, arguing that in a looser and modified sense, there was a dominant paradigm in American sociology. This he identifies as an amalgam of "action-functionalism-system" which permeated sociological thinking during the 1930's through the 1950's. I am not qualified to judge whether Friedrichs is correct in this ascription of "normal science" to American sociology during this period. What is clear, however, from both Kuhn's and Friedrichs' analyses is that current sociology is not in a .1 normal" state. There is no agreement among sociologists whether to perceive social phenomena through categories which are those of physical mechanics, Freudian biology, conditioned behavior, homeostatic system, evolutionary change, class conflict or ideal typification directed to the everyday social world.

While Friedrichs interprets this state as that of a science in crisis, I think that the prolonged nature of this condition argues plausibly for the view that sociology is in a state (indeed I am not entirely sure that it was ever otherwise) which Kuhn would describe as "pre-paradigmatic" or "prescientific." There are a variety of would-be paradigms some of which may even gather suf f icient following to dominate in this or that sector of the sociological community. There is, however, no over-arching agreement that defines for sociologists what is normal science.

In Kuhn's view, this means that, strictly speaking, sociology is not a science; for it is determinative of science and of the possibility of progress that there be a prevailing paradigm. The obvious implication of this is that if sociology would become a science, it must lay aside this self-defeating pluralism and elect a Newton.25 Then, and only then, would the sense of "science" appropriate to the "hard" sciences become likewise appropriate to sociology (though, of course, the conceptual categories and forms of explanation need not emulate those of other sciences).

In the light of considerations introduced in the first section of this paper, it is correct, I believe, to propose that this view of science is fundamentally hostile to consideration of free inquiry and truth. Sociologists, far from lagging behind the physical sciences by tolerating theoretical pluralism within their professional ranks, would in this view actually be in an episternically superior position relative to those "normal" sciences. What is required is a Gestalt switch by which that which initially appeared to be a defect or sign of immaturity now is perceived as a value to be preserved.

The Preconditions for Christian Sociology

It is a commonplace-and a very ancient one-that man, when growing up, must put aside childish things and must adapt to reality. The dreams of childhood, the aspirations of his youthful years, the many fanciful ways of looking at the world which made it such an interesting and mysterious place-all these must be abandoned if the aim is to achieve knowledge and a mastery of nature.

Is it possible to retain our childhood dreams, to develop them in a pleasing and fruitful fashion without losing touch with reality?26

It ought to be clear that I am advocating pluralism as a normative state for science. This amounts to a variation of Feyerabend's view (setting aside his absurd rhetoric about epistemological anarchism") that science must become critical metaphysics" if it is to avoid stagnation and dogmatism. Religious and metaphysical perspectives will influence our social scientific paradigms.27 The real issue then is whether such influence will be tacit and uncritical or explicit and critical.

David Wolfe is Professor of Philosophy at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from Wheaton College (IL), a Ph.D. from New York University and has done graduate study in sociology and philosophy at The New School for Social Research. His areas of special interest include philosophy of science, epistemology and philosophy of education. He resides in Tunbridge, Vermont, where he is active in church work, parenting three boys, gardening and listening to classical music.

The strengths of such pluralism are that, while it takes seriously the idea that our observations are inseparable from our theories, it still is able to specify conditions under which rational considerations enter into theory choice and development (though the logic of these conditions is not so cut and dried as some might wish).28 Furthermore, it makes quite clear that our choices with regard to scientific theories (including sociological theories) cannot be divorced from our larger cognitive and value concerns of constructing a comprehensive world view,

Just as naturalism is compatible with a multiplicity of theories, so is Christian theism. Only by allowing rival Christian sociological theories to develop and compete can the Christian hope to come to sociological Truth. There are no revealed sociological theories.

In the remainder of this paper, I wish to amplify three theses, growing from a commitment to theoretical pluralism. Let us examine each of these in turn.

(1) Theoretical pluralism is a lever by which Christian sociologists may work for professional respectability of sociological theories suggested by Christian perspectives on the human person and society.

It is no secret that much of traditional sociology has operated with a naturalistic guiding image of the human person and society. Friedrichs captures the flavor of this succinctly with his chapter title "Sociological Man as Natural Man."29 From the perspective of the present paper this tendency is a manifestation of the way in which scientific theorizing becomes an extension of metaphysical concerns. There is no good sociological, scientific or epistemological reason why naturalistic guiding imagery must be the source of sociological theory. If the consideration of pluralism as set out in this paper is sound, naturalism cannot function as a touchstone of acceptable sociological theory without becoming an uncritical dogma. The sociological naturalist must permit theories embodying other guiding imagery and metaphysical perspectives into the scientific arena in order to retain a critical stance. Christian sociologists schooled in the arguments for theoretical pluralism could (legitimately) argue even on the non-Christian's own ground f or the right of Christian sociological theories to a fair hearing and opportunity for development.

(2) Theoretical pluralism is an antidote within the community of Christian scholars to the view that there is a single Christian sociology.

Because of their religiously exclusivist convictions, Christians seem prone to the temptation of theoretical exclusivism. If a Christian is convinced that his is a Christian view (e.g. of society), it is a grave temptation to believe that all other views must be un-Christian or sub-Christian. However, it is a logical error to bold that since one holds a Christian view it is therefore the Christian view. When one sees that scientific realism demands theoretical pluralism, he begins to realize that the complexity of our epistemic predicament ought to induce cognitive humility rather than arrogance. just as naturalism is compatible with a multiplicity of theories, so is Christian theism. Only by allowing rival Christian sociological theories to develop and compete can the Christian hope to come to sociological truth. There are no revealed sociological theories. Christians are subject to the same perplexities of human finitude as anyone else who attempts to do science, and this demands theoretical pluralism.

(3) To regard the doing of sociology as critical metaphysics presses the Christian sociologist to mew his professional theorizing in light of his Christian beliefs; he is forced to engage in the complex task of displaying the cognitive strength of Christian concepts in generating fruitful ways of viewing social phenomena.

One burden of this paper has been to sketch out the status of human knowing, given that it is impossible to draw sharp distinctions between world views and scientific theory, or between scientific theory and observation. Scientific theories are not cognitive battleships in the midst of a sea of vague feelings, but rather like islands which are manifestations of deeper commitments and against which even the lapping waves of feeling and intuition may have formative influence. This blurring of boundaries forces the Christian scholar to recognize that his theorizing is being controlled either explicitly by his own assumptions or silently by alien assumptions.

No originality is claimed for this view. It has been expressed by a variety of Christian thinkers in a variety of ways. Nevertheless, only recently has it been articulated in a form fruitful for the thesis of this paper. In his Reason Within the Bounds of Religion,30 Nicholas Wolterstorff has made an exploratory study of the relation of control beliefs to the formation and weighing of theories. Wolterstorff makes several points worth repeating here, so we may examine what their implications might be for the Christian sociologist.

(a) "Negatively, the Christian scholar ought to reject certain theories on the ground that they conflict or do not comport well with the belief -content of his authentic commitment.31

An attempt to catalog Christian assumptions about the human person and society would be out of place here, even if it were possible. Presumably, however, something like such a catalog will need to be drawn up for Wolterstorff's point to be implemented. Let me, then, name as candidates for the list, at least the following: individual freedom and responsibility, corporate responsibility, human creativity, human activity as involving meaningful goals, the significance of symbols (linguistic and otherwise) to human actors, human sinfulness as both an individual and a social affair. Surely I have missed some important items, but that is not important. The point is that the beliefs in this list, incomplete as it may be, do not hang together well with some of the prominent points of view within current sociological theory. Corporate responsibility does not seem to square well with methodological individualism. Reductionist views ignore human activity as involving meaningful goals. Systems-theoretical approaches tend to render individual freedom and responsibility irrelevant. In general any pervasive use of causality as an explanatory device in sociology produces results which conflict with Christian control beliefs.

(b) "Positively (the Christian) ought to devise theories which comport as well as possible with, or are at least consistent with, the belief-content of his authentic commitment."32

This is ever so much easier to say than to do, or even to know how to begin to do. in a series of otherwise excellent points Wolterstorff offers illuminating insights about the functioning of control beliefs, but only one brief example of the outcome of their positive role.33 Most Christians in sociology are apt to scratch their heads at this point: the best they seem to do is gravitate toward humanistic or phenomenological paradigms which seem a bit more comfortable. Many are apt to throw in the intellectual towel and take refuge in the safety of professional routine.

What is needed are some suggestive examples to get the wheels turning. Since I am no sociologist, my "suggestive examples" are apt to risk embarrassment. Nevertheless, if I do not take that risk, my advice, like that of so many others, is likely to sound empty.

Let us look at the doctrine that man is sinful, both individually and corporately. I suppose that a superficial glance might suggest that the doctrine of sin could be used as an explanatory principle for certain social phenomena. Perhaps it is human sinfulness that produces deliquent behavior among teenagers. But clearly this will not do. This could only be an explanation if the teenagers who failed to become deliquent were free from sin, which they are not. Sin does not explain why some persons engage in anti-social behavior while others do not. All are under sin. Well, then, perhaps sin has Do suggestiveness for sociology, since even the socially respectable are not exempt. Perhaps, but there may be another approach. We might ask ourselves, "If the social consequences of sin are delinquency here, prostitution there, what is the social manifestation of sin among social classes which show a low degree of deviant behavior?" Perhaps it is their collective complacency in the face of poverty. Perhaps it is the institutionalization of guilt alleviation and means of maintaining collective ignorance of the condition of others' needs. Perhaps the notion of "false consciousness" is a signif icant theoretical notion for investigating some social forms of human sinfulness. If this is so, it may be the case that some paradigms which seem incapable of handling such notions as false consciousness (e.g., phenomenological sociology34) are again ruled out, while others appear more fruitful.

I understand that Marx's notion of surplus value is rejected by traditional economists because it has no predictive importance. Yet Marxian economists insist on using it because it uncovers moral facts about exploitation which traditional theories overlook. I don't know enough about Marxian economics to assess this account, but it is suggestive for a Christian sociology. Specifically, by devising new theoretical frameworks Christian sociologists might discover moral dimensions in society which remained invisible to other theories. Of course, inventing a theory which reveals previously undetected facts is only part of the job. The other part consists of the actual work of research under the auspices of the theory, research which may become a guide to Christian social action.

Many of us, in the childhood of our Christian immaturity, believed that Christianity not only expressed the good news of salvation, but also provided keys to the proper way for seeing and understanding all experience. Was this merely a childish hope, bound to be abandoned in the maturity Of our scholarship? The thesis of this paper is that careful reflection on science (indeed all knowledge) shows it was not.

(c) "Christian scholarship will be a poor and paltry thing, worth little attention, until the Christian scholar, under the control of his authentic commitment, devises theories that lead to promising, interesting, fruitful, challenging lines of research. "35

in the final analysis, Christian scholarship is neither defensive apologetics nor devotional moralizing. It is rather the exploration and display of the cognitive strength of Christian commitment by elaborating it and extending its application to ever expanding areas of experience in research.

The moral for Christian sociologists is clear. Their job is not completed in rejecting or espousing theories about human persons and society for Christian reasons. Only when the strength and importance of sociological theories which one devised under Christian control beliefs are established in a program of research, can Christian sociological theories be taken seriously. Until then the cognitive worth of a Christian view of society remains an unfulfilled promise.

Many of us, in the childhood of our Christian immaturity, believed that Christianity not only expressed the good news of salvation, but also provided keys to the proper way for seeing and understanding all experience. Was this merely a childish hope, bound to be abandoned in the maturity of our scholarship? The thesis of this paper is that careful reflection on science (indeed all knowledge) shows it was not.

Let me conclude with the completion of the quotation with which this section began.

Is it possible to retain our childhood dreams in a pleasing and fruitful fashion without losing touch with reality? The reply is clearly affirmative. Proliferation means that there is no need to suppress even the most outlandish product of the human brain, and science, far from giving comfort to the doctrinaire, will profit from such an activity and is unthinkable without it. Tenacity means that one is encouraged not just to follow one's inclinations but to develop them further, to raise them, with the help of criticism (which involves a comparison with other existing alternatives), to a higher level of articulation and thereby to raise oneself to a higher level of consciousness.36


1T.K. Feyerabend, "Against Method," in Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, vol. 4 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1970), p. 20.

2P.K. Feyerabend, "How to Be a Good Empiricist-A Plea for Tolerance in Matters Epistemological," reprinted in H. Morick, ed., Challenges to Empiricism (Belmont, CA.: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1972), p. 165.

31 am thinking of philosophers and reflective scientists.

4For an excellent discussion of this point see Carl G. Hempel, Philosophy of Natural Science (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1966), pp. 11-13.

5 Scientific hypotheses and theories are usually couched in terms that do not occur at all in the description of the empirical findings on which they rest and which they serve to explain." Ibid, p. 14.

6See Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations (New York: Harper Torcbbooks, 1968), pp. 34ff.

7Ibid" pp. 36_39.

8See chapter 1, "Observation," in Norwood Russell Hanson, Patterns of Discovery (Cambridge at the University Press, 1965), pp. 4-30; cf. Popper, op. cit., p. 41f, footnote 8.

9See Feyerabend's account of Lakatos in "Outline of a Pluralistic Theory of Knowledge and Action" in Planning for Diversity and Choice, ed. Stanford Anderson (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1968), pp. 282f; cf. Imre Lakatos, "Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programs," in Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, ed. Imre Lakatos and Alan Musgrave (Cambridge at the University Press, 1970), pp. 126f and 183f.

10Kuhn, Thomas, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962, 1970).

11See for example Israel Scheffler, Science and Subjectivity (New York: Bobbs-Merrill Co,, Inc., 1967) and Roger Trigg, Reason and Commitment (Cambridge at the University Press, 1973), especially chapter 5, pp. 91-118.

12With this sentence I depart from an exposition of Kuhn to a criticism of some of the consequences of his position. It would be unfair to attribute to Kuhn the view that such monolithic agreement is desirable. Yet be does leave the impression that genuine progress is possible only within normal science. See Kuhn, op. cit. pp. 160-70.

13See Feyerabend, "How to be a Good Empiricist," especially pp, 188f.

14 See the articles by these authors referred to in the previous notes.

15Feyerabend, "Outline of a Pluralistic Theory of Knowledge and Action," pp. 279f,

16The example is Feyerabend S, in ibid., p. 280. Ibid., pp. 280

17Ibid., p. 280. For helpful note on theory appraisal under conditions of proliferation see Larry Laudan, Two Dogmas of Methodology." Philosophy of Science. 43 (1976.), 585-97.

19or anybody else, for that matter. New guiding ideas for the development of scientific paradigms could come from anywhere, including, as Feyerabend implies in the quotation at the beginning of this section, one's religion, metaphysics or sense of humor. of course the development of the ideas would still be in the hands of scientists, much as a tune picked up anywhere still requires a musician to transcribe, harmonize and otherwise develop it. "Metaphysical systems are scientific theories in their most primitive stage." Feyerabend, How to Be a Good Empiricist," p. 187.

20See his remarks in ibid., pp. 188f.

21Anthony Standen, Science Is a Sacred Cow (New York: E, P. Dutton and Go., 1958), p. 144.

22Robert Friedrichs, A Sociology of Sociology (New York: The Free Press, 1970).

23Kuhn, op. cit., pp. vii-viii.

24ibid., p. iii.

25This way of putting it, while graphic, is too strong. At least Kuhn would not subscribe to the view that proto-science can become science by legislation. He says, "As in individual development, so in the scientific group, maturity comes most surely to those who know how to wait." See this and further comments in his "Reflections on My Critics," Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, ed. by Imre Lakatos and Alan Musgrave (Cambridge at the University Press, 1970), p. 245,

26Feyerabend, "Outline of a Pluralistic Theory of Knowledge and Action," pp. 275,283.

27Every social theory rests on some infrastructure of tacit domain assumptions, on some set of sentiments, which define what people take to be real: that is, their personal reality," Alvin W. Gouldner, The Coming Crisis of Western Sociology (New York; Avon Books, 1970), p. 404.

28See the remarks by Nicholas Wolterstorff, Reason Within the Bounds of Religion (Grand Rapids, micb.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976), pp. 99f.

29Chapter ten of A Sociology of Sociology.

30See note 28 for bibliographical data.

31Wolterstorff, op. cit., p. 72.


33However, his example is an important one. See his footnote 45-"The psychologist who rejects behaviorism and works out a psychological action-theory as an option to the pervasive behavior-theories should be viewed as ... engaged in apologetics." (p. 114). Christian sociologists would do well to take note of current work in the application of action theory to sociology by such philosophers as Carol Gould. See especially her "Beyond Causality in the Social Sciences: Reciprocity as a Model of Non-exploitive Social Relations." (forthcoming).

34See Richard L. Bernstein, The Restructuring of Social and Political Theory, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1978), pp. 1631f.

35Wolterstorff, op. cit., p. 102.

36Feyerabend, "Outline of a Pluralistic Theory of Knowledge and Action." pp. 293f.