David Paul Boaz makes the claim in his paper, ‘Thomas Kuhn’s Paradigm Paradigm: Is Science Rational?’ that: ‘Once more “the whole of science” is not rational and objective.’… accepting that as Kuhn claims in his ‘Structure of Scientific Revolutions,’  (1962) ‘ ‘the orthodox descending “normal science” paradigm and the ascending  “revolutionary science” paradigm – are incommensurable …The cognitive “gestalt switch” from old to new paradigm is akin to a non-rational ‘religious conversion.’

Boaz concludes: ‘Thus have the Post modernists, Godel, Kuhn, Quine and Heidigger shown that Science, the exemplar of Rationality, has a non-rational core that it cannot escape.’ (1)

Regarding the above, this serf, like the philosopher Schopenhaur, 🙂 considers that the debasement of reason in philosophy and science from Hegel on has had a corrupt influence on criticism. In me serf ‘History’s Chequered History I wrote: ‘ As the servant of Frederick William’s totalitarian State, Hegel developed a process of argument called the dialectic, a debasement of reason that contemporary philosopher, Schopenhaur described as corrupting a whole generation, By means of this dialectic process Hegel was able to twist arguments for freedom of thought and the concept of  liberty into their opposite. Adapting to his dialectical process the antimonies arising from pure speculation, Hegel argues that Kant is wrong to worry about contradictions. While critical discussion and science proceed on the basis that contradictions are not permitted, in the Hegelian doctrine they are to be welcomed.’

After Hegel, I consider that Postmodern attacks on rational criticism, undermine the scientific process that through criticism has seen the tentative growth of knowledge from Ptolemy to Copernicus, from Kepler and Galileo on to Newton to Einstein and the technologies that has risen from the evolution of theories about our world. 

Regarding the irrationality of science see the criticisms of the above Postmodernist claims of Kuhn et al, by A. Palmer and J.W.N.Watkins in the 9th Edition of  Serf Under_ground Journal . See also, the ensuing argument against  Boaz and Kuhn’s contention that doing science as an irrational activity.


At a lecture in Vienna in 1968, published  in, ‘Objective Knowledge, An Evolutionary Approach,’ Chapter 4, (Oxford.1972.) Karl Popper explores the implications of Plato’s and the Stoics theories of Philosophical pluralism involving the natural world and the world of ideas. The lecture is posted in this thread as a pdf with the brief reference below referring to its content. (2)

Say, y’all know serf’s are preoccupied with issues of freedom, so here’s hopin’, yer’ll fergive this serf’s intrusion into philosophy, as she attempts to identify constraints on freedom of enquiry. Sometimes the old time tested aphorisms based on field experience jest don’t allow us serfs ter make argumentative connections. So herewith, Chapter 4, ‘ On the Theory of the Objective Mind.’ discussing Plato’s theory of Forms.

Plato’s world of Forms or Ideas was a world of higher realities though it was not a world of personal gods or a world of consciousness but an objective third world which existed in addition to the physical world and to the world of the mental states.. Popper makes this the starting point of his discussion that there exist three entologically distinct sub-worlds, ‘World 1,’ the physical world or world of physical states, ‘World 2,’ the world of mental states, of psychological states, and ‘World 3,’ the world of intelligibles or ideas in an objective sense, of which theories are the most important.
( pp154/5.)

This World 3 has often been mistaken for subjective ideas or mental states belonging to the second world, as recognised by the stoics. To World 3 we can ascribe universal concepts, eg, the number 7, or mathematical propositions eg 7×11=77, or even false propositions like 7×11 = 66. We can also ascribe to it all kinds of non-mathematical propositions. ( p156)

Popper states it is important to distinguish between Worlds 2 and 3 because there is a  tendency in the humanities to reject the existence of a third world. Popper argues that the third world is not a fiction. It exists and transcends its makers in its unplanned products eg, impact of  electrical power transmission or economic theories on decisions such as whether to build a boat or a plane. (pp158/159)

From the time we produce our theories they produce unintended consequences and feed backs leading to new problems, problems not made by us but discovered by us, capable of being interpreted and criticized almost as world 1 objects.  (pp 160/161.)

The activity of mediating World 3 objects can represented as a general schema of problem solving by a method of imaginative conjectures and criticism or refutation . P1 -> TT -> EE -> P2 ( Problem 1-> Tentative Theory-> Error Elimination, (tests) leading to new problem situation. ( p164)

In history as well as science, analysis of world 3 situations is appropriate. Identifying a third world problem situation is the paramount task, not as the historian- philosopher, R.G. Collingwood perceived it as an attempt to re enact an actor’s original experience, as an act of empathy, but seeking to apply situational analysis to the actor’s reasoning involving a problem situation (p171and p186) which involves a rational principle in the sense that we can interpret an action as an attempt to solve a problem.(p171 and p186) (See also me History’s ‘Chequered History.’ on context.)

Popper next offers a fascinating situational analysis in his study of Galileo’s Theory of Tides, a third world method of historical and not psychological investigation. Popper’s study investigates why Galileo, in spite of being aware of the well-known idea of the moon’s influence upon the tides, and in spite of being familiar with the work of Kepler, perseveres with the hypothesis of the circular motion of the planet. Kepler’s. Popper’s analysis identifies a problem situation that explains the logic of Galileo’s actions.  … Read on …  (p 181)

Regarding ‘understanding’ in the humanities, Popper is prepared to accept as its task, an understanding of our common humanity, but the method of conjecture and refutation remains its method and the task of science is also one of understanding, (an understanding of nature, not men,) that has been a constant hope of almost all great scientists at least since Anaximander. This hope has reached at least some temporary fulfilment, first in Newton, and then in Einstein’s theory of Gravity. ( p183.)

Popper concludes that the idea of a World 3 is of interest for a theory of understanding which aims at combining our understanding of reality with the objectivity of rational criticism. (p 190.)

(1) http://davidpaulboaz.org/wordpress/thomas-kuhns-paradigm-paradigm-is-science-rational/

Karl Popper On The Theory of The Objective Mind (Acrobat File .pdf as cited)


So what poetry applies ter the above? Guess it’s this one reposted from SU_g Journal Ninth Edition about keepin’ yer head in an emotional storm. H/t mosomoso.

One Step Backward.

Not only sand and gravels
Were once more on their travels,
But gulping muddy gallons
Great boulders off their balance
Bumped heads together dully
And started down the gully.
Whole capes caked off in slices.
I felt my standpoint shaken
In the universal crisis.
But with one step backwards taken
I saved myself from going.
A world torn loose went by me.
Then the rain stopped and the blowing,
And the sun came out to dry me

Robert Frost.


  1. Beth, I’ve been meaning to mention for some time that, in my books, you are the hands-down winner of the “Erudite Serf of the Year” award. And to victory to victory, and strength to strength, you feature the immortal words of one of my all-time favourite poets.

    ‘Tis indeed a pleasure to read your words, and to recognize that – perhaps like Frost ‘n I – you choose a road less travelled by 😉

  2. Oh Hilary, straight out uv Nassim Taleb, a black swan event! Nevah did i
    imagine I’d receive an “Erudite Serf of the Year” award.! Thank you.

    Beth – the – serf.

    Yes, Frost 🙂

    ‘We dance round in a ring and suppose,
    But the secret sits in the middle and knows.’

  3. Serf, this sort of thing is too brain-hurty for toffs, but I do sort of get it. Is some Pope relevant?

    Short Views we take, nor see the lengths behind,
    But more advanc’d, behold with strange Surprize
    New, distant Scenes of endless Science rise!
    So pleas’d at first, the towring Alps we try,
    Mount o’er the Vales, and seem to tread the Sky;
    Th’ Eternal Snows appear already past,
    And the first Clouds and Mountains seem the last:
    But those attain’d, we tremble to survey
    The growing Labours of the lengthen’d Way,
    Th’ increasing Prospect tires our wandering Eyes,
    Hills peep o’er Hills, and Alps on Alps arise!

  4. Hi Beth,

    I was happy for you down under that Gillard got the boot. But what do you think of Rudd’s push for yet a different form of carbon punishment, further removed from the people than the carbon tax? (At least, this is my understanding of events there – correct me if I’m wrong.)

  5. Hi Jim, I’m not up with it. I get most of my information on carbon tax via
    ‘The Australian’ Newspaper, analysis. Henry Ergas /Judith Sloane …
    not the ABC (

    What’s happened that I know is the Green’s were determined to block
    Prime Minister Abbott’s Bill to repeal the Carbon Tax in the Senate before
    Xmas and prior to a new senate representation, post the 2013 election
    that brought Abbott to government, ( with a promise to ger rid of the CT.)

    The Labor party has joined with the Greens and postponed the vote
    until the new Year. Odd that a Labor Party, relying on Union support,
    is prepared to risk jobs with high energy costs on top of high wages,
    Oz is right up there on labour costs. But Union Leaders now don’t all
    come through the ranks but via university and often get elected as a
    stepping stone to politics. Where would Oz be without its mining? Our
    heavily subsidized car industry and more is heading overseas. Not
    sure what Rudd is up to, will listen up.

    Jim, Faustino and Peter Lang are the knowledgable ones, with
    experience, serfs are the last ter hear. (


  6. I’m very surprised, but then again maybe not, that unions there elect academics as leaders!!! Academics aren’t all they are cracked up to be. Some are golden, but most just seem to be chasing publications on a topic that can be framed as urgent or at least important. I don’t know enough about Australia’s government to make sense of it all, but read about it from time to time on the excellent Jo Nova’s site.

  7. Jim, Australia’s history from it’s first settlement as a British colony was
    influenced by its distance from Europe, Geoffrey Blainey’s ‘Tyranny of
    Distance’ It’s free settlers from Britain came here to better themselves,
    the well off to invest in land, the poor seeking employment. From the start,
    gold rushes, the workers began to unionize and achieved work reforms like
    the 8 hour day. Wealth from minerals enabled the country to expect benefits
    without too much strenuous effort and behind a policy of protectionism
    A bit different from the US. A small population to post WW11 so workers
    could strike bargains.

    After WW11 our unfilled spaces became a worry, we were too vulnerable
    to invasion and needed to increase our 7 million population fast and we did.
    immigrants from Europe at the public’s expense.and emplloyed in our protected manufaturing industries. For years a conservative government under Robert
    Menzies but oddly, with a Hawke Labor government, he was a union man,
    factories were exposed to world competition, the beginning of Oz going global.

    Australia has become more productive and more important to the world than
    in the past. It feeds more people in other parts of the world than its own,
    and supplies other nations with much of its minerals, but now we have this
    movement, global, by green elites, predominant in Humanities Departments
    of the Universities, to turn back the tide attacking industry and enterprise,
    and they’re good at getting their people into positions of influence.

    And I haven’t really responded to yr comment why unions elect academics
    as leaders. 🙂

    • WRT the “green elites,” I noticed several years ago here that (I don’t have a good word) lelfties had assumed positions at the top of various organizations. One example I recently uncovered was the League of Women Voters here. Ostensibly, they exist simply to get people to vote, regardless of political stripe. I signed up for emails from them so I wouldn’t miss local elections. But then, I start getting emails to sign petitions urging Obama to “act” on “climate change.” ??? Then, one wanting me to support the legalization of illegal aliens. Obviously, the organization has been co-opted by lefties, much to my dismay.

  8. Jim, we have our left wing activist groups too, acting under the guise of
    independent community grass roots movements. One such group, ‘Get
    Up’ includes in its original board, Workers’ Union Bill Shorten, now leader
    of the Labor Party, and receives funding from several Unions. Like the
    LWV It pushes the left wing agendas of global warming scare campagning,
    carbon tax advocacy and release of illegal immigrants from detention.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s