Problems In Philosophy • 10

Re: Ontolog ForumDavid Whitten

Why does classical tradition or any tradition consider logic to be a normative science?

Dear David,

A science is called that because it deals in knowledge (Latin scientia).  Knowing what is the case in a given domain of experience may be distinguished from knowing what ought to be in a given set of circumstances, and people who think in threes, like Kant and Peirce and me, add knowing what may be hoped to the mix.

In the quest to understand how science works a praxis/pragmatist like myself gives the process, inquiry, equal billing with the product, knowledge.  People have gotten used to seeing sciences as bodies of ostensible knowledge (BOOKs) and taking their analysis as a matter of assigning them distinctive catalogue numbers and sorting them to the indicated library shelves.  That is all well and good but it leaves an all too static impression of science if we settle for that.

Here are capsule summaries on the Sciences of Is and the Sciences of Ought from the Wikiversity articles on Descriptive Science and Normative Science.

Descriptive Science
A descriptive science, or a special science, is a form of inquiry, typically involving a community of inquiry and its accumulated body of provisional knowledge, which seeks to discover what is true about a recognized domain of phenomena.
Normative Science
A normative science is a form of inquiry, typically involving a community of inquiry and its accumulated body of provisional knowledge, which seeks to discover good ways of achieving recognized aims, ends, goals, objectives, or purposes.
The three normative sciences, according to traditional conceptions in philosophy, are aesthetics, ethics, and logic.


cc: CyberneticsOntolog ForumPeirce ListStructural ModelingSystems Science

This entry was posted in Aesthetics, Algorithms, Animata, Automata, Beauty, C.S. Peirce, Ethics, Inquiry, Justice, Logic, Model Theory, Normative Science, Peirce, Philosophy, Pragmatism, Problem Solving, Proof Theory, Summum Bonum, Truth, Virtue and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Problems In Philosophy • 10

  1. Poor Richard says:

    Jon, the philosophy of science is all about the aims of science AND good ways of achieving them.  I’m still not seeing a clear distinction, traditions notwithstanding, between descriptive and normative science.  I do see the recursive entanglement though, and I’m still wondering if we can find common axioms that underlie both.

  2. Pingback: Problems In Philosophy • 11 | Inquiry Into Inquiry

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