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Introductory reflections on post-normal science Matthias Kaiser ASFPG, Hamburg Altona 17-19 January 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "Introductory reflections on post-normal science Matthias Kaiser ASFPG, Hamburg Altona 17-19 January 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introductory reflections on post-normal science Matthias Kaiser ASFPG, Hamburg Altona 17-19 January 2007

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3 Dimensions: Decision stakes -> Values Decision stakes -> Values Uncertainty -> both ethically and epistemologically. Uncertainty -> both ethically and epistemologically. [participation] [participation]BUT: 1. What are values ? 2. What is uncertainty ? a) In nature? -> complex / stochastic systems? b) In knowledge -> inherent in all scientific knowledge ? 3. The ups and downs of participation?

4 On values: The matter of a research project? EU project ? Certainly a collaborative, multi-disciplinary effort. Values are very much en vogue. Values are very much en vogue. The serve to explain failures and successes, but they also remain silent most of the time? The serve to explain failures and successes, but they also remain silent most of the time? At the core of our understanding of ethical issues. At the core of our understanding of ethical issues.

5 Ethical issues : Ethics = the common platform for dialogue on values and conflicting interests. Ethics = the common platform for dialogue on values and conflicting interests. Values Politics Science / IndustryThe public(s)

6 Why values? Values have important functions: Values have important functions: They are related to attitudes They are related to attitudes They motivate action (or do they?) They motivate action (or do they?) They provide identity (individually, socially and culturally) They provide identity (individually, socially and culturally) They are more stable than opinions and current preferences They are more stable than opinions and current preferences Values rest in the individual. Values rest in the individual. Hare: value judgements imply imperatives! Hare: value judgements imply imperatives! Others: Come on…! What about boredom, apathy, weakness, self-contempt, despair etc? Those states of your mind can muddle up your nicest values! Others: Come on…! What about boredom, apathy, weakness, self-contempt, despair etc? Those states of your mind can muddle up your nicest values!

7 Hans Joas: In The Genesis of Values, 2000: values originate in experiences of self-formation and self-transcendence values originate in experiences of self-formation and self-transcendence Identity, not in the sense of stable features, but of a communicative and constructive relationship of the person to himself and to that which does not belong to the self, is the precondition for creative intercourse with the Other and for an ethos of difference Identity, not in the sense of stable features, but of a communicative and constructive relationship of the person to himself and to that which does not belong to the self, is the precondition for creative intercourse with the Other and for an ethos of difference Includes the social dimension: discourse. Includes the social dimension: discourse.

8 Empirical research about values? Transition from industrial society to post-industrial society invited a number of studies. Transition from industrial society to post-industrial society invited a number of studies. Religioius values replaced by secular values? (by Science?) Religioius values replaced by secular values? (by Science?) Materialistic values decline and emancipative values enter? Reflexivity? Materialistic values decline and emancipative values enter? Reflexivity? Mirrored in support for technological / scientific development? Mirrored in support for technological / scientific development? World Value Study + Eurobarometer World Value Study + Eurobarometer

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10 Attitudes to technology & science Not the realm of denotation Not the realm of denotation Rather the realm of connotation: Rather the realm of connotation: Implications and associations Implications and associations What it means to people, rather than what it is What it means to people, rather than what it is Drawing on a range of cultural values and experiences Drawing on a range of cultural values and experiences

11 Methodological difficulties Baruch Fischhoff: 3 paradigms Philosophy of articulated values Philosophy of articulated values Basic values approach Basic values approach Partial perspectives (imperfect grasp on some aspects of values) Partial perspectives (imperfect grasp on some aspects of values)

12 Some methodological constraints Kahnemann & Tversky and others: Rational choice theory of limited descriptive value Kahnemann & Tversky and others: Rational choice theory of limited descriptive value The framing problem The framing problem Attitudes through evalution of favour or disfavour Attitudes through evalution of favour or disfavour Mental representartions: no extensionality but intensional objects – description relative Mental representartions: no extensionality but intensional objects – description relative Intensity varies Intensity varies Prototype representations Prototype representations Measures vary – money no good measure Measures vary – money no good measure

13 Matter for a new project? 3 questions: 3 questions: Are there values or are there not? Are there values or are there not? If there are values, how do they function? If there are values, how do they function? And how can we possibly know / learn about them? And how can we possibly know / learn about them? The dialectics of us and values – mutual constitution? The dialectics of us and values – mutual constitution? How and why do values change? How and why do values change?

14 Understanding Values: Philosophy, history, culture Subjecting values to debate Measuring values for science Concepts for value change The methodology of value study

15 On uncertainty: Complexity in nature: Complexity in nature: Systems theory: Foerster, Bertalanffy(?), Maturana & Varela, Bateson & Watzlawick, Luhmann etc Systems theory: Foerster, Bertalanffy(?), Maturana & Varela, Bateson & Watzlawick, Luhmann etc Feedback, self-organisation, collapse & maintainance, boundaries, perspectivity (frames), leverage-points & change, etc. Feedback, self-organisation, collapse & maintainance, boundaries, perspectivity (frames), leverage-points & change, etc. ASFPG workshops planned: ASFPG workshops planned: On Biology & resilience (Folke) On Biology & resilience (Folke) On Luhmann On Luhmann On Varela On Varela

16 Epistemic uncertainty: Funtowicz & Ravetz: Funtowicz & Ravetz: Absence of adequate information (for a given purpose) Absence of adequate information (for a given purpose) Inexacteness, unreliability, border to ignorance Inexacteness, unreliability, border to ignorance Multi-dimensional Multi-dimensional In degrees In degrees But: But: Always present in scientific knowedge Always present in scientific knowedge Can increase or decrease with new knowledge Can increase or decrease with new knowledge

17 Question: How can uncertainty be positively defined? How can uncertainty be positively defined? (if at all?) (if at all?) What is the metaphysics / epistemology of uncertainty? (the dappled world?) What is the metaphysics / epistemology of uncertainty? (the dappled world?)

18 An answer? Failure of traditional philosophy of science Failure of traditional philosophy of science Based on dual polarity: theory and experience Based on dual polarity: theory and experience Promise in 3-step approach phenomenal constructivism ? Promise in 3-step approach phenomenal constructivism ? Woodward & Bogen, Kaiser, Brown Woodward & Bogen, Kaiser, Brown [Hacking, Cartwright & LSE school?] [Hacking, Cartwright & LSE school?]

19 The hypothetical-deductive model of scientific reasoning: Theories as deductive structures of statements. Theories as deductive structures of statements. Theories explain and predict. Theories explain and predict. Theories are tested, not necessarily falsified or verified. Theories are tested, not necessarily falsified or verified. Upholds a difference between theoretical statements and empirical statements. Upholds a difference between theoretical statements and empirical statements. Has no particular role for the manipulating, practical side of the scientific enterprise. Has no particular role for the manipulating, practical side of the scientific enterprise.

20 An example: From Continental Drift to Plate Tectonics. Alfred Wegener – an outsider with a popular idea. Alfred Wegener – an outsider with a popular idea.

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29 The Bermuda-triangel in philosophy of science Thomas Kuhn Thomas Kuhn Positivism Karl Popper Positivism Karl Popper

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31 How I conceive of science: Not two, but three basic units: theories, phenomena, and data Not two, but three basic units: theories, phenomena, and data Theories are families of models Theories are families of models Phenomena are the objects of theories Phenomena are the objects of theories Data are the foundation of phenomena Data are the foundation of phenomena Not deductive model of statements, but rather structural representation Not deductive model of statements, but rather structural representation Has an inductive step from data to phenomena Has an inductive step from data to phenomena Has a deductive or subsumptive element from theory to phenomena. Has a deductive or subsumptive element from theory to phenomena.

32 My view: Science as representing and intervening Science as representing and intervening The Dappled World – Collage on reality The Dappled World – Collage on reality Pluralism on method, yes; but always explicit Pluralism on method, yes; but always explicit Progress of knowledge through discovery of new phenomena, and new models to explain them. Progress of knowledge through discovery of new phenomena, and new models to explain them. Science is always contextual. Science is always contextual. Always subjective and objective elements Always subjective and objective elements Still aiming at inter- subjectivity Still aiming at inter- subjectivity

33 Stepwise abstraction? Gaining information – at a price Gaining information – at a price Singularities lost, generalities won? Singularities lost, generalities won? The question of retrievability The question of retrievability Description and manipulation Description and manipulation Adequate to what? [test?] Adequate to what? [test?] Flexible or replaceable when? Flexible or replaceable when? How can concepts become more real than things? How can concepts become more real than things? Uncertainty as the Janus-face of knowledge? Uncertainty as the Janus-face of knowledge? Infinite but directional quest? Infinite but directional quest?


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