Sunday, June 24, 2012

Again against implicit methodologies

The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices from the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back (Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, London 1936, pp. 383-4).

There is no escape from this situation: one cannot speak without concepts, and one cannot test the validity of every concept before using it. But a certain awareness of the history of the subject can help to indicate what comes from where what easy assumption is based on what past theory and is only as valid as that theory (Parker, On Greek Religion, 2011, p. ix).

I could not be clearer about the importance of making one's methodology explicit and on studying history and historiography.

More on this subject at this post (on implicit paradigms), this one (on descriptions being never neutral), this one (again on implicit methodologies, inspired by the 2nd CBC).


Ruy D'Aleixo said...

Hi Elisa!
Let me disagree with the major point:
The real methodology is always implicit - it is the methodology according to which one explains his own methodology, etc. etc. etc.

elisa freschi said...

Hi Aleix,

do you mean that there is the risk of an infinite regress?
Please beware that I am NOT interested in psychological motivations. I do not want to know why one prefers a gender-aware approach. It is enough for me to know that this is the chosen approach, so that I know beforehand that the data will be read from this point of view.

Ruy D'Aleixo said...

Then it's fine!

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