Re: [XTalk] Wright's NTPG, Chaps 1& 2
> What he doesBob,
> thereby is to leave out an essential piece of the scientific method, that
> objectivity is approached by demanding that tests of hypotheses be
> *reproducible.* This gets around (and has gotten around for about a
> century) Wright's complaint that the observer sees from one point of view
> only. This is an exceedingly important point, as it is what increases the
> objectivity of scientific method: the demand that results be reliably
> reproducible by different observers, especially by the strongest critics.
I think Wright is indeed insisting on something analagous to the scientific
method in his definition of "critical realism" in that he insists that these
discussions take place in the open marketplace of ideas. He sees the
historian's job as being one of making hypotheses that best explain what is
known. And then those hypotheses stand or fall in that open marketplace of
ideas. That, as I see it, is the scientific equivalent of hypotheses being
tested by other scientists. It will never be reproducible like science
experiments are (or aren't) so one can only push the analogy so far (or
remain completely agnostic about much ancient history?).
Interesting post. Thanks. I look forward to the rest of your impressions.