Are you anti-science? Or what philosophy is allowed to say about science
Dimitri LASSERRE, Centre Gilles Gaston Granger, France
Can philosophy ask theoricians and their theories whether or not what they do is science? Anyone who would throw a glance back at the last two millenaries of history of philosophy would probably answer:``of course, it can!" Yet some questions might not have been asked yet. There are some empty (of philosophy) spaces where scientific discourses, or so-called scientific discourses, or pseudoscientific discourses, can expand without standing under the light, or the eye, of philosophy. This emptiness is especially large (as long as emptiness can be large) in the field of social sciences and, more precisely, in economics.
Obviously philosophy deals with social sciences, talks about social sciences. But some frictions might arise when one wonders whether the propositions made by economic science are ``scientific" or not, whether they build knowledge or talk about something else instead.
Based on a phenomenological definition of truth (Benoist, 2011, 2017) and on the important thesis of Putnam (2002) concerning the fact-value entanglement, this paper argues that : (1) discourses in economics are not phenomenologically true; (2) discourses in economics are not as fact-oriented as discourses in natural sciences are: on the contrary they are strongly value-entangled; (3) economic science, as an institution and as a social phenomena (see, e.g. Kuhn, 1962), works hard to prevent philosophy from questionning the scientific and epistemic value of economic theories, models and propositions - a quick look towards the structure of economic works, experimental economics, and some examples of recent debates inside economics itself, can convince one to the relevance of (3).
``Are you anti-science?" This is what you might be asked if you question the scientific status of economics, or the capacity of economics to bring knowledge (I admitt this might have been taken out of a true story). However this paper's last claim is: (4) philosophy must not be scared of any sort of censorship; neither must philosophy be stopped by it. Ethical and political questions stand behind the epistemology of economics. From the notion of truth in economics derive both theoretical and practical problems. And from (4) we must conclude that these two kinds of problems deserve to be investigate by philosophy. This investigation, eventually, is absolutely not ``anti-science": it is definitely pro-science. This paper eventually stands against the ``anti-science" rhetoric, the ``anti-science" argument, and proposes arguments to show why this rhetoric is greatly misleading.
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