By designing in-stitutions guided by predictive knowledge—or more often rationalized by its pretenses—bureaucracies, corporations, and government security ser-vices limit people’s freedoms in ways that bureaucrats and bosses do not often recognize. Usually acting out of benevolent motives, with the aim of ameliorating social conditions, individuals in authority mistak-enly apply the first sort of technological, scientific knowledge to producing engineering solutions to human problems. Central to critical theory is the critique of this sort of error, and the recognition that the sort of knowledge required to deal with human problems is the second sort of moral, politi-cal, “practical” knowledge, which can only be secured through discussion, deliberation, conversation, and democratic political processes. In its place, natural knowledge and even rational planning have a useful role in social life. The out-come of this deliberation in Habermas’s conception bears haunting similari-ties to Hegel’s idea of reason, rationality, finally achieving its full expression.

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Perhaps the most famous are a succession of studies that employed IQ tests to mea-sure intelligence and compare average IQs between the sexes and among socioeconomic, ethnic, and racial groups. Some researchers in this area have concluded that differences in average IQ among such groups can best be explained by genetic, rather than environmental, factors. Regardless of what the social scientists who conduct such studies think their policy ramifications should be, others have more power over the adoption and implementation of pol-icy.

And no amount of extensional neuroscience can give us such descriptions.Philosophers of psychology have expressed this point by saying that men-tal states are not reducible to behavior or brain states. How is the former related to the latter, and what kind of a thing is the mind anyway? Philosophers of the other social sciences may think they can ignore such arcane questions. The modern version of the mind- body problem is that of how physical matter can have content (can “represent”) in light of the fact that a complete description of it will be extensional and never inten-tional. It becomes a problem for the philosopher of social science when the role of folk psychology in the explanatory strategy of social science is made clear.

The show relies on a cooperative and rowdy audience for its comedy, and last Saturday night’s performance had a good crowd. Attendees are frequently called to the stage to awkwardly demonstrate flirting techniques and play games like “Love, Lust or Stalking,” so inhibitions are not allowed. Grant and Miramontes capably handle the scripted portion and are also good at incorporating the curveballs that are thrown their way. Based on the advice book by Abigail Grotke, this comedy follows Miss Abigail, a sought-after relationship expert who helps celebrities with their chaotic love lives. Alongside her sidekick, Paco, Miss Abigail travels across the world dispensing advice on dating. Calling all mingling singles, dating disasters, mating mavens and nuptial know-it-alls-Miss Abigail is in town!

There now seems little differ-ence between the language of arguments in political philosophy and wel-fare economics, for instance. Political philosophers are prepared to consider the possibility of interpersonal comparisons and perhaps even cardinal utility, notions that have no place among modern mathematical economists. But for those theories to gain acceptance, the arguments that economics has mounted against them must be disposed of. This is certainly a task to be faced by social scientists as well as philosophers who reject the constraints of Pareto optimality.So here the situation is reversed. Social scientists need to concern them-selves with moral philosophy both because they cannot avoid ethical issues and because they may have more to say about them than we might expect.


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Change the terms in which a statement someone believes is expressed, and you may well change the belief itself. CHAPTER TWELVETheories of Cultural EvolutionCan social scientists solve the problems facing their holism and function-alism without adopting a nativist view of human affairs? As noted in the last chapter, many people seek to refute such a thesis because of its implications for public policy and social attitudes not just in its indi-vidual instances but as a coherent possibility in general.

So the explanation of action is inten-tional because it results from intentional states like desire and belief.Intentionality turns “mere” behavior into action. Action is intentional, for behavior is only action if there are intentional states—desire and belief that lead to it. Since desires and beliefs “contain propositions,” their effects—actions—reflect the propositions they contain as well. Thus all the apparatus that common sense and social science employ to describe what people do has an intimate connection with language.

One way social scientists have opposed such injunctions against certain research is by pleading a deontologically based right to free inquiry. There is, of course, a tension between embracing such principles and the naturalistic methods these social scientists employ. Without debat-ing the free- inquiry claim, let us consider how much social scientific knowl-edge we would need in order to justify a ban on certain kinds of research.To know whether a certain research program is morally permissible, we need to be able to predict with some reliability the long- term consequences of its research results and their dissemination. To do that we need a substan-tial amount of theory about human activities and institutions. In particular we need reliable knowledge about how people respond to scientific innova-tions and discoveries. We also must be able to establish the initial conditions about the social contexts to which these theories are applied.

For the only way to improve on folk psychology’s unity and precision is by showing the “measurability” of its causes by means that the rest of science recognizes. Only if such linkage is possible will there be, even in principle, alternative means for identifying ’s domain of application. Only if such linkage is possible will there be means independent of to determine the occurrence of its initial conditions. Since such linkage is impossible, it looks as if the conclusion of the logical connection argument is right after all, even though the argument is unsound. For there is no description, known or un-known, of the intentional causes of action, no description that is itself exten-sional and thus none that is independent of a description of their effects.

Even after the eclipse of the polit-ical systems influenced by Marx’s theories, his analysis continues to attract students seeking a deeper meaning behind social processes. Because Marx’s specific predictions have been almost entirely disconfirmed, there has been strong incentive to convert his theory into an interpretive one without pre-dictive implications. In particular, it is facts about the modes of production, the means people employ in order to survive and perpetuate themselves, that dictate the characteristics of all the rest of society. All the rest—marriage rules, legal principles, moral precepts, aesthetic standards, literary styles, religious dogma, political constitutions—are parts of the superstructure. Thus, explanations of social institutions, roles, rules, relations among people, and so on, are to be found in facts about the means of production.