Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 75–104 | Cite as

Eine konstruktivistische Grundlegung der Objekte empirisch-wissenschaftlicher Theorien

  • Edmund Nierlich
Articles

A Constructivist foundation of the objects of scientific empirical theories

Summary

The following considerations are guided by the assumption that the objects of any scientific empirical theory are constructs as well as the theories themselves, the construction of these object-constructs being fundamentally dependent on the theories' functioning in the provision of practically relevant empirical explanations. The relevance of these explanations consists in their contribution to the improvement of at least one practical capacity through enabling the invention of at least one improving kind of practical actions.

In an excursus on the origination and the development of the notion of theory within human history the view is held, in contrast to Aristotle, that theorization has always aimed at practical relevance, however in a broader sense of “practical” than that in which Aristotle uses the term “πρακτλκóχ”, and that only the practical functions of theory-construction have changed over the times, and their object-constructs correspondingly. The latest form of theory with the above-mentioned function in the development of social practice is the scientificexplanatory empirical theory with thedescriptive empirical theory now no longer fulfilling a practical function of its own, but only a service-function of data acquisition for the explanatory theory.

The object-constructs of strictly scientific empirical theories in the sense of explanatory theories for the improvement of practical capacities are here considered to be empiricalquasi-actions, those of the dependent descriptive empirical theories eitherquasi-instruments orquasi-products orquasi-materials of the respective kind ofquasi-actions of the explanatory theory. The empiricalquasi-action is here conceived as the latest in a sequence of developing object-constructs that have resulted from different and successively more effective attempts at better survival of human beings and even from prehuman stages of evolution. The author envisages a differentiation of empiricalquasi-actions into further sub-categories to provide the conceptual bases for the construction of objects of new kinds of scientific explanatory empirical theories that might become practically relevant for the improvement of new kinds of practical capacities to be preferably improved for the advancement of social practice: Beside the already relevant category ofempirical processes (as I named it) are here proposed the further categories ofempirical originations of meaning and ofempirical organizations of practical actions as conceptual bases for object-constructs of future scientific empirical theories.

Key words

constructivism object, theory, practice, empirical sciences substance, process, practical action,quasi-action 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edmund Nierlich
    • 1
  1. 1.Berlin 41

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