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

Franz Ofner

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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

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