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Epistemology of the Human Sciences

Restoring an Evolutionary Approach to Biology, Economics, Psychology and Philosophy

Palgrave Macmillan
  • Discusses topics in biology, economics, psychology, political science and nonjustificational philosophy

  • Contrasts evolutionary epistemology in human and life sciences to the physical sciences

  • Replaces traditional philosophy of the social sciences with evolutionary epistemology

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in Classical Liberalism (PASTCL)

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 149.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
This title has not yet been released. You will be able to pre-order it soon.

About this book

“Weimer is a polymath. His writings range over disparate domains including induction, psychology, epistemology, economics, and mensuration theory. This volume should be essential reading for anyone concerned about the nature of the sciences.” – Neil P. Young, Clinical and Experimental psychologist.

 

“Knowing the mind is infinitely more challenging than knowing the objects studied by the physical sciences. Weimer's book rises to the challenge, thoroughly reviewing the strengths and shortcomings of both famous and forgotten thinkers such as Bühler, Hayek, Popper, and von Neumann to identify key issues for an evolutionary epistemology.” –  John A. Johnson, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Penn State University

 

This book argues for evolutionary epistemology and distinguishing functionality from physicality in the social sciences. It explores the implications for this approach to understanding in biology, economics, psychology and political science. Presenting a comprehensive overview of philosophical topics in the social sciences, the book emphasizes how all human cognition and behavior is characterized by functionality and complexity, and thus cannot be explained by the point predictions and exact laws found in the physical sciences. Realms of functional complexity – such as the market order in economics, the social rules of conduct, and the human CNS – require a focus on explanations of the principles involved rather than predicting exact outcomes. This requires study of the historical context to understand behavior and cognition. This approach notes that functional complexity is central to classical liberal ideas such as division of labour and knowledge, and how this is a far more powerful and adequate account of social organization than central planning. Through comparison of these approaches, as well as its interdisciplinary scope, this book will interest both academics and students in philosophy, biology, economics, psychology and all other social sciences.

 

Walter B. Weimer is Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Philosophy at the Pennsylvania State University, USA. His other books in the Palgrave Studies in Classical Liberalism series are the two volumes of Retrieving Liberalism from Rationalist Constructivism. 

Keywords

  • evolutionary epistemology
  • complexity theory
  • behaviorism
  • Austrian subjectivism
  • rationalist constructivism
  • philosophy of the social sciences
  • market order in economics

Reviews

Weimer is a polymath. His writings range over disparate domains including induction, psychology, epistemology, economics, and mensuration theory. His views have proven to be not only trenchant but prescient. For example, Donald Hoffman’s position regarding “The Case Against Reality, and the constructivist nature of perception was presaged by Weimer over forty-five years ago. Similarly, those confronting the replication crisis in today’s psychotherapy research, would do well take seriously his admonitions regarding measurement theory. This volume should be essential reading for anyone involved in or concerned about the nature of the sciences.

Neil P. Young, Ph.D  Clinical and experimental psychologist.

 

Minds/brains are complex systems within complex systems (living organisms) within complex systems (human societies) within complex systems (ecosystems). Consequently, knowing the mind is infinitely more challenging than knowing the objects studied by the physical sciences. Weimer's book rises to the challenge, thoroughly reviewing the strengths and shortcomings of both famous and forgotten thinkers such as Bühler, Hayek, Popper, and von Neumann to identify key issues for an evolutionary epistemology: consciousness, duality, determination, description, explanation, mensuration, semiotics, and rationality. The result is a guidebook that points the human sciences in the right direction.

--John A. Johnson, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Penn State University

 

"Having researched and written on the neglected problems surrounding measurement and experimentation in the social sciences, I am encouraged to find those topics highlighted and emphasized as of central importance in this book on epistemology. Social scientists need to realize their fields cannot simply borrow the tools and techniques of physical science without understanding the limitations and differences involved."

Günter Trendler, Industrial Services Project Manager, Ludwigshafen a. R., Germany

 


Authors and Affiliations

  • WASHINGTON, USA

    Walter B. Weimer

About the author

Walter B. Weimer is Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Philosophy at the Pennsylvania State University, USA. His other books in the Palgrave Studies in Classical Liberalism series are the two volumes of Retrieving Liberalism from Rationalist Constructivism.


Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 149.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
This title has not yet been released. You will be able to pre-order it soon.