Volume 8 · Number 2 · Pages 166-172
Some Ideas towards a Non-dualism-Compatible Theory of Science

Franz Ofner

Log in download the full text in PDF

> Citation > Similar > References > Add Comment


Purpose: The paper tries to explore the possibility of developing a theory of science that is compatible with the non-dualizing way of speaking. Problem: The difficulty of developing a non-dualism-compatible theory of science consists in the difference of the perspectives of the theory of science and the non-dualizing way of speaking. The non-dualizing way of speaking deals with descriptions as results of inquiries, whereas science theory thematizes the process of gaining descriptions in empirical research. If we want to reach compatibility between these different perspectives, we are led to the question of what kind of relationship exists between inquiry and description and what is the source of attaining knowledge. In respect of social sciences, there is the additional problem that a great deal of their objects are text; therefore the relationship between text and interpretation is relevant for the empirical research process of social sciences. Findings: George Herbert Mead’s theory of action and communication allows a productive approach to the above-mentioned problem to be found. Mead conceives of speaking as potential acting, as action that is initiated but not carried out. In this way, describing and inquiring can be connected non-dualistically. The source of gaining knowledge and descriptions is, however, according to Mead’s action theory, practical activities. Objects are not presupposed, but are results from action. New experiences and descriptions come from inquiries that are stimulated by action problems and action inhibition and the endeavor to overcome the inhibition. Implications: The result of the argumentation is that Mead’s conception of action and language can serve to develop a theory of science that is compatible with non-dualizing thinking. The reason for this is that in Mead’s conception, acting and speaking, experiencing and describing are not conceived of as categorical differences but are related to each other as executed and initiated.

Key words: Pragmatist action, communication theory, Mead, research, discourse


Ofner F. (2013) Some ideas towards a non-dualism-compatible theory of science. Constructivist Foundations 8(2): 166-172. http://constructivist.info/8/2/166

Export article citation data: Plain Text · BibTex · EndNote · Reference Manager (RIS)

Similar articles

Ofner F. (2008) Action and Discourse. Some Thoughts Concerning a Non-dualizing Conception of Experience
Müller K. H. (2010) The Radical Constructivist Movement and Its Network Formations
Müller K. H. (2008) Methodologizing Radical Constructivism. Recipes for RC-Designs in the Social Sciences
Larochelle M. & Désautels J. (2007) Concerning Ernst von Glasersfeld’s Contribution to Intellectual Freedom: One Interpretation, One Example
Umpleby S. A. (2016) Second-Order Cybernetics as a Fundamental Revolution in Science


Dewey J. (1998) Die Suche nach Gewissheit. Eine Untersuchung des Verhältnisses von Erkenntnis und Handeln. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main. Original publication: Dewey J. (1929) The quest for certainty. A study on the relation of knowledge and action. Minton, Balch & Comp. New York. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Gadenne V. (2010) Sucht die Wissenschaft nach Wahrheit? In: Aulenbacher B. & Ziegler M. (eds.) In Wahrheit… Herstellung, Nutzen und Gebrauch von Wahrheit in Wissenschaft und Alltag. StudienVerlag, Innsbruck. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Grundmann T. (2008) Analytische Einführung in die Erkenntnistheorie. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Luhmann N. (1985) Soziale Systeme. Grundriss einer allgemeinen Theorie. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main. English translation: Luhmann N. (1995) Social systems. Stanford University Press, Stanford CA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Mead G. H. (1909) Social psychology as counterpart to physiological psychology. Psychological Bulletin 6: 401–408. Retrieved from http://www.brocku.ca/MeadProject/Mead/pubs/Mead_1909a.html on 28 December 2003. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Mead G. H. (1912) The mechanism of social consciousness. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 9: 401–406. Retrieved from http://www.brocku.ca/MeadProject/Mead/pubs/Mead_1912a.html on 28 December 2003. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Mead G. H. (1938) The philosophy of the act. Edited by Charles W. Morris with John M. Brewster, Albert M. Dunham and David Miller). University of Chicago, Chicago. Retrieved from http://www.brocku.ca/MeadProject/Mead/pubs2/philact/Mead_1938_toc.html on 28 December 2003. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Mitterer J. (1992) Das Jenseits der Philosophie. Wider das dualistische Erkenntnisprinzip [The beyond of philosophy: Against the dualistic principle of cognition]. Passagen, Vienna. Republished, with a new afterword, in 2011 by Velbrück Wissenschaft, Weilerswist. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Mitterer J. (2001) Die Flucht aus der Beliebigkeit [The flight from contingency]. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main. Republished, with a new foreword, in 2011 by Velbrück Wissenschaft, Weilerswist. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Mitterer J. (2013) “On interpretation.” Constructivist Foundations 8(2): 143–147. http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/8/2/143.mitterer. German original: “Über Interpretation.” In: Riegler A. & Weber S. (eds.) (2010) Die Dritte Philosophie. Velbrück, Weilerswist: 286–296.
Ofner F. (2008) Action and discourse. Some thoughts concerning a non-dualizing conception of experience. Constructivist Foundations 3(3): 148–152. Available at ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Ofner F. (2010) Beschreiben und praktisches Handeln. Eine nicht-dualisierende Konzeption von Erfahrung im Anschluss an Josef Mitterer und George Herbert Mead. In: Riegler A. & Weber S. (eds.) Die Dritte Philosophie. Kritische Beiträge zu Josef Mitterers Non-Dualismus. Velbrück Wissenschaft, Weilerswist: 64–76. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar

Comments: 0

To stay informed about comments to this publication and post comments yourself, please log in first.