One of the ways of theoretical argumentation - a rationale, or justification by constructing a logical proof, was considered earlier. Next, various other ways of theoretical justification will be discussed. Among them - system argumentation, the correspondence of the newly put position to the already accepted statements, its agreement with some general principles similar to the principle of habituality, methodological argumentation.
General statements, scientific laws, principles, etc. can not be justified empirically, by reference only to experience. They also require a theoretical justification, based on reasoning and referring to other accepted statements. Without this, there is no abstract theoretical knowledge or well-founded beliefs.
It is impossible to prove a general statement by referring to evidence relating to some particular cases of its applicability. Universal generalizations are a kind of hypothesis, based on essentially incomplete series of observations. Such universal statements can not be proved on the basis of those observations during the generalization of which they were advanced, and even on the basis of subsequent extensive and detailed series of predictions derived from them and confirmed in the experiment.
Theories, concepts and other generalizations of empirical material are not derived logically from this material. One and the same set of facts can be generalized in different ways and covered by different theories. In this case, one of them will not be fully consistent with all the facts known in their field. The facts and theories themselves not only constantly diverge, but they are never clearly separated from each other.
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All this suggests that the agreement of the theory with experiments, facts or observations is not enough to unambiguously assess its acceptability. Empirical arguments always require a theoretical supplement. Not empirical experience, and theoretical reasoning turns out to be usually decisive when choosing one of the competing concepts.
In contrast to empirical arguments, the methods of theoretical argumentation are extremely diverse and internally heterogeneous. They include deductive justification, systemic argumentation, methodological arguments, etc. There is no single, sequentially classified methods of theoretical reasoning.
Systematic nature of the justification
It is difficult to indicate a position that would justify itself, in isolation from other provisions. Justification is always systemic. The inclusion of a new provision in a system of other provisions that gives stability to its elements is one of the most significant steps in its justification.
Systematic reasoning is the substantiation of the assertion by including it as an element in a seemingly well-founded system of statements, or theory.
Confirmation of the consequences that follow from the theory, at the same time, reinforces the theory itself. At the same time, theory informs the positions put forward on its basis of certain impulses and power, and thereby contributes to their justification. The assertion that has become an element of the theory relies not only on individual facts, but also on a wide range of phenomena explained by the theory, on its prediction of new, previously unknown effects, on its connection with other theories, etc. The analyzed position included in the theory receives the empirical and theoretical support that the theory as a whole has.
L. Wittgenstein wrote about the integrity and systematic nature of knowledge: "The isolated axiom is evident to me as an obvious, but whole system in which the consequences and premises mutually support each other." Systematicity extends not only to theoretical positions, but also to experience data: "We can say," continues Wittgenstein, "that experience teaches us some sort of assertions. However, he teaches us not isolated statements, but a whole lot of interdependent sentences. If they were disjointed, I, perhaps, would have doubted them, because I have no experience directly related to each of them. "
The bases of the system of statements do not support this system, but they are supported by it. This means that the reliability of foundations is determined not by themselves, but by the fact that an integral theoretical system can be built on them.
Doubt, as L. Wittgenstein explains, concerns not an isolated sentence, but always some situation in which I behave in a certain way.
For example, when I get a letter out of my mailbox and see to whom they are addressed, I check whether they are all addressed to me, and at the same time firmly adhere to the belief that my name is BP. And as I continue to check this way , for me all these letters, I can not meaningfully doubt my name.
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Doubt makes sense only in the context of some "language game" or the established practice of the activity, subject to the adoption of its rules. Therefore, it makes no sense to me to doubt that I have two hands or that the Earth existed 150 years before my birth, for there is no such practice, within which, when making its premises, it would be possible to doubt these things.
According to L. Wittgenstein, empirical sentences can in some situations be verified and confirmed in the experience. But there are situations when they, being included in the system of statements, into concrete practice, are not checked and are used as a basis for checking other proposals. This is the case in the example above. "My name is BP." - an empirical sentence used as a basis for verifying the claim. "All letters are addressed to me." However, you can think of such a story ( practice ) when I have to check on the basis of other data and evidence whether I am called B.P.
In both cases, the status of an empirical sentence depends on the context, on the system of statements, of which it is an element. Out of context, it is pointless to ask whether the proposal is empirically verifiable or whether I firmly adhere to it.
When we firmly adhere to some belief, we are usually more likely to doubt the source of conflicting data than in the very belief. However, when these data become so numerous that they prevent us from using the conviction in question to evaluate other statements, we can part with it.
In addition to empirical, L. Wittgenstein singles out methodological proposals. They are also random in the sense that their denial will not be a logical contradiction. However, they are not verifiable in any context. External similarity can confuse us and encourage us to treat equally empirical sentences like "There are red dogs" and methodological type "There are physical objects". But the fact is that we can not imagine a situation in which we could be convinced of the falsity of the methodological proposal. It depends not on the context, but on the totality of all imaginary experience.
L. Wittgenstein distinguishes two more kinds of sentences: proposals in which I can hardly doubt, and proposals that are difficult to classify (for example, the statement that I have never been in another solar system).
In his time, R. Descartes insisted on the need for a fuller and more radical doubt. According to Descartes, it's only certain that his famous cogito - position I think, therefore, I exist. " L. Wittgenstein holds the opposite position: for doubt, good reasons are needed, moreover, there are categories of statements, in the acceptability of which we should never doubt. The isolation of these categories of statements is directly conditioned by the systemic nature of human knowledge, its internal integrity and unity.
The connection between the statement being justified and the system of statements within which it is put forward and functioning has a significant effect on the empirical verifiability of this statement and, accordingly, on the arguments that can be put forward in its support. In the context of its system ( language game & quot ;, practice ), the statement can be accepted as an undoubted, not subject to criticism and not requiring justification in at least two cases.
First, if discarding this statement means giving up a certain practice, from that whole system of statements, of which it is an integral component.
For example, the statement "Sky Blue" does not require verification and does not allow doubts, otherwise the entire practice of visual perception and color discrimination will be destroyed. Discarding the statement "The sun will rise tomorrow", we question all natural science. Doubt in the validity of the statement "If a person beheaded, then it will not grow back" calls into question all physiology, etc.
These and similar statements are not justified empirically, but a reference to that well-established and well-tested system of statements, of which they are constituent elements and which would have to be abandoned if they were discarded. English philosopher and ethic J. Moore asked in his time the question: how could you justify the statement "I have a hand"? According to L. Wittgenstein, the answer to this question is simple: this statement is obvious and does not require any justification within the framework of human perception practice; to doubt it would be to question all this practice.
Secondly, the assertion must be accepted as unquestionable if, within the framework of the corresponding system of statements, it has become the standard for evaluating its other assertions and, therefore, has lost its empirical verifiability. Among such statements, which have passed from the category of descriptions to the category of values, there are two types.
1. Statements that are not verifiable within a certain, fairly narrow practice. For example, a person browsing the mail while he is busy with this activity can not doubt his name.
2. Claims that are not verifiable within any, arbitrarily wide practice. For example, statements called L. Wittgenstein methodological: "There are physical objects", "I can not be mistaken in that I have a hand" etc. The connection between these statements and our other convictions is almost universal. Such statements do not depend on a specific context, but on the totality of all imaginary experience, so that their revision is practically impossible. Similar is the case with the claims "Earth existed before my birth", "Objects continue to exist, even when they are not given to anyone in perception" etc. They are so closely related to all our other claims that they practically do not allow the exclusion of our knowledge system.
The systemic nature of a scientific statement depends on its relationship to the system of affirmations (or practices) within which it is used. There are five types of statements that differ in the way they are used:
• statements that are not only possible but also reasonable in the context of a particular practice;
• statements for which doubt is possible, but is not reasonable in this context (eg, reliable measurements, information from a case source),
• statements that are not subject to doubt and verification in this practice under the threat of destruction of the latter;
• assertions that have become standards for assessing other claims and therefore not verifiable in the context of this practice, but allowing for verification in other contexts;
• Methodological statements that are not verifiable in any practice.
The argument in support of type 3 statements involves a reference to that system of statements (or that practice), of which the claims under consideration are an integral part. The argument in favor of type-4 claims is based on the identification of their evaluation character, the need for them in the specific practice, and, finally, in pointing out the effectiveness of this practice. Type 3 and 4 statements can be made the subject of doubt, verification and justification, going beyond their practice, placing them in a broader or simply different context.
As for the methodological statements included in any conceivable practice, the argument in support of them can only be based on the belief that there is a total correspondence between the totality of our knowledge and the outside world, on the confidence in the mutual coherence of all our knowledge and experience. However, the general reference to aggregate, non-dismembering experience usually does not look particularly convincing.
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