"To be sure, wilful simplification for the sake of clarity is philosophy’s stock-in-trade. It reveals just how beholden the field’s research frontier remains to its teaching function. Thus, philosophers – even the great ones – spend most of their time attacking straw opponents who fail to correspond to any actual precursor but who are no less vivid as phantom presences in student textbooks. By his own admission, Kuhn’s understanding of logical positivism was almost entirely of this character. But so too was Popper’s sense of his favourite foes Plato and Hegel. Sometimes behind such scholastic fodder that frames philosophical debate lie opponents who are not so different from each other after all. For example, a closer look at ‘rationalists’ like Descartes and ‘empiricists’ like Locke shows them to be much more alike than suited Kant’s own purposes when he first distinguished the two theories of knowledge at the end of The Critique of Pure Reason. But sometimes the stereotype, for all its crudeness, does capture differences in sensibility that become deeper the more one looks. This is certainly the case with Popper and Kuhn." from Kuhn vs. Popper, by Steve Fuller.
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Posted by Sasha at December 11, 2003 08:21 AM | TrackBack