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Logical Positivism

A philosophy which argued that science (and human knowledge) must be based solely on observables came to dominate in the twentieth century. Unobservables, like human feelings, morality, and many others, became irrelevant. Even though the philosophy was rejected by philosophers because of many flaws, defects and errors, it continues to exercise an important influence on contemporary thought. Understanding this philosophy and its severe deficiencies is crucial to making intellectual progress today.
Short Newspaper Articles
  1. The Rise and Fall of Logical Positivism: The most spectacular philosophical story of the 20th century -- the completely wrong philosophy of LP has strongly influenced modern thought, and led to very serious errors in how we think about science and social science.
  2. Damaging Impact of Logical Positivism on Social Science: How eliminating unobservables from social science led to a loss of understanding which persists to this day. 
  3. Positivism Versus Pluralism: Positivism insists that meaningful sentences must be either true or false, while pluralism taken into account the possibility that there may be many different perspectives for understanding the big picture.
  4. Theories of Knowledge: How positivism provides a shallow and un-satisfactory understanding of knowledge, while power-knowledge idea provides better explanation of how completely false theories come to dominate. 
  5. Fundamental Flaws of Conventional Economics: Foundations of modern economic theory were based on positivist ideas. Even though LP has collapsed, these foundations have not been revised, which means that current foundations are seriously flawed.
  6. The Marginalization of Morality: Positivism led to a definition of knowledge which excluded a huge portion of human concerns from the realm of knowledge. In particular, normative statements and morality were considered to be unscientific. As a result, morality was removed from university education with disastrous results. 
  7. The Deification ofScience and Its Disastrous Consequences. This is a brief summary of a lengthy and complex paper with the same name.
  8. Positivism Versus Pluralism: WEA Pedagogy blog post explains how "Positivist Misconceptions: An Obstacle to Understanding Pluralism."  Simple-minded binary logic of positivism fails to grasp the complexity of the real world. [published in IJPEE Vol 7 No.1 2016}
  9. Methodological Mistakes and Econometric Consequences: Summarizes paper of same name. Shows that positivist foundations for modern econometric theory has led to a defective methodology which can proved anything from any set of numbers. 
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International Journal of Pluralism in Economics Education, Vol 6, No.2, 181-197  May 1, 2016, 10:28 AM Asad Zaman
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Video Lecture 92m shows how conventional econometric methodology is seriously flawed, and some aspects of changes necessary to fix this problem (part 1 of series)  May 6, 2016, 6:00 PM Asad Zaman
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Rejection of Logical Positivism leads to new methodology required for Islamic Economics  May 6, 2016, 5:50 PM Asad Zaman
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continued; how rejection of logical positivism necessitates development of new methodological principles.  May 6, 2016, 5:52 PM Asad Zaman
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International Journal of Economics, Management and Accounting, Vol. 21, No. 2 (December 2013).p 1-18  May 1, 2016, 10:24 AM Asad Zaman
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A section of Normative Foundations for Scarcity explains how LP led to the elimination of values from economic theory. This is at the root of "Poisoning the Well" of Julie Nelson  Jul 6, 2016, 4:29 AM Asad Zaman
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International Econometric Review, Vol 4. Issue 2, p. 99-122, September 2012  May 1, 2016, 10:29 AM Asad Zaman
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Video Lecture on paper of same title 62m  May 6, 2016, 5:57 PM Asad Zaman
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Positivism led to the idea that Economics should be a positive discipline. Normative concerns were buried in the foundations, and not recognized.  May 1, 2016, 12:07 PM Asad Zaman
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Julie Nelson explains how economics theory damages the moral imagination by poisoning the well from which we get our moral ideas  Jul 6, 2016, 4:33 AM Asad Zaman
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Foucaults idea of intimate connection between power and knowledge better explains structure of knowledge than Logical Positivism  May 1, 2016, 12:09 PM Asad Zaman
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Many areas of research were considered "unscientific" by LP, because they dealt with unobservables.  May 1, 2016, 10:23 AM Asad Zaman
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Positivism led to serious mistakes in understanding probability. Old definitions are wrong; new definitions are offered.  May 1, 2016, 10:40 AM Asad Zaman
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A new way to think about study of social sciences --  May 6, 2016, 5:54 PM Asad Zaman
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90 min lecture -  May 1, 2016, 10:33 AM Asad Zaman
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