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Over Karl Marx

Voorkant Popper 'The open society and its enemies - Volume 2: The high tide of prophecy: Hegel, Marx, and the aftermath' Karl POPPER
The open society and its enemies - Volume 2: The high tide of prophecy: Hegel, Marx, and the aftermath
London: Routledge, 1945/1; 1966/5 herzien; ISBN 04 1505 1347

(1) Chapter 11 - The Aristotelian Roots of Hegelianism

"I shall therefore not attempt a serious treatment of Aristotle, except in so far as his version of Plato’s essentialism has influenced the historicism of Hegel, and thereby that of Marx."(1)

"Aristotle’s thought is entirely dominated by Plato’s. Somewhat grudgingly, he followed his great teacher as closely as his temperament permitted, not only in his general political outlook but practically everywhere. So he endorsed, and systematized, Plato’s naturalistic theory of slavery ..."(2)

"Aristotle’s Best State is a compromise between three things, a romantic Platonic aristocracy, a ‘sound and balanced’ feudalism, and some democratic ideas; but feudalism has the best of it. With the democrats, Aristotle holds that all citizens should have the right to participate in the government. But this, of course, is not meant to be as radical as it sounds, for Aristotle explains at once that not only slaves but all members of the producing classes are excluded from citizenship. Thus he teaches with Plato that the working classes must not rule and the ruling classes must not work, nor earn any money. (But they are supposed to have plenty.) They own the land, but must not work it themselves. Only hunting, war, and similar hobbies are considered worthy of the feudal rulers. Aristotle’s fear of any form of money earning, i.e. of all professional activities, goes perhaps even further than Plato’s."(3)

"Aristotle’s admiration and deference for the leisured classes seems to be the expression of a curious feeling of uneasiness. It looks as if the son of the Macedonian court physician was troubled by the question of his own social position, and especially by the possibility that he might lose caste because of his own scholarly interests which might be considered professional. (...) Aristotle’s feelings of inferiority have, perhaps, still another basis, apart from his wish to prove his independence of Plato, apart from his own ‘professional’ origin, and apart from the fact that he was, undoubtedly, a professional ‘sophist’ (he even taught rhetoric)."(4)

[Daargaan we weer: lekker psychologiseren. Beetje vreemd voor iemand die thuis is in de wetenschapsfilosofie.]

"And indeed, in its optimism lies the one important adjustment made by Aristotle in his systematization of Platonism. Plato’s sense of drift had expressed itself in his theory that all change, at least in certain cosmic periods, must be for the worse; all change is degeneration. Aristotle’s theory admits of changes which are improvements; thus change may be progress. (...) But the peculiar optimistic twist which he gave to Platonism was an outcome of biological speculation also. It was based upon the idea of a final cause."(4-5)

"Aristotle makes sensible things move towards their final causes or ends, and these he identifies with their Forms or essences."(6)

"Aristotle, who was a historian of the more encyclopædic type, made no direct contribution to historicism. He adhered to a more restricted version of Plato’s theory that floods and other recurring catastrophes destroy the human race from time to time, leaving only a few survivors. But he does not seem, apart from this, to have interested himself in the problem of historical trends. In spite of this fact, it may be shown here how his theory of change lends itself to historicist interpretations, and that it contains all the elements needed for elaborating a grandiose historicist philosophy."(7)

Volgt een groot stuk over essentialistische definities, intuïtieve kennis, en dergelijke, gesteld tegenover wetenschappelijke methoden en kennis.

"So far I have tried to show that the scientific or nominalist use of definitions is entirely different from Aristotle’s essentialist method of definitions. But it can also be shown that the essentialist view of definitions is simply untenable in itself."(15)

"All this applies, of course, to Aristotle’s doctrine of intellectual intuition of so-called essences, which was propagated by Hegel, and in our own time by E. Husserl and his numerous pupils; and it indicates that the ‘intellectual intuition of essences’ or ‘pure phenomenology’, as Husserl calls it, is a method of neither science nor philosophy. (The much debated question whether it is a new invention, as the pure phenomenologists think, or perhaps a version of Cartesianism or Hegelianism, can be easily decided; it is a version of Aristotelianism.)"(16)

[Volgens mij heeft Popper geen idee van de problemen die fenomenologen en anderen zien aan die positivistische wetenschap waarvan hij zelf een voorstander lijkt te zijn. Hij vindt ook dat definities niets kunnen verbeteren aan de publieke discussie vanuit een oneindige regressie - idee. Het lijkt wel of hij geen enkel idee heeft van de alledaagse praktijk van mensen onder elkaar. Flauwe argumenten soms, echt kinderachtig. Alsof in de praktijk - bijvoorbeeld de politieke praktijk waarover hij het heeft - niet een heleboel gewonnen kan worden door een aantal begrippen te definiëren, alsof dan echt elk begrip precies omschreven moet worden, wat een onzin.]

"But undoubtedly, the demand that we speak clearly and without ambiguity is very important, and must be satisfied. Can the nominalist view satisfy it? And can nominalism escape the infinite regression?
It can. For the nominalist position there is no difficulty which corresponds to the infinite regression. As we have seen, science does not use definitions in order to determine the meaning of its terms, but only in order to introduce handy shorthand labels.(...)
It follows from this that in science, all the terms that are really needed must be undefined terms. How then do the sciences make sure of the meanings of their terms?"(18)

[Nou, dan gaan we in de politiek toch ook nominalistisch en op die manier te werk? Overschatting van exacte wetenschap zoals gewoonlijk, omdat je daar getallen kunt gebruiken.]

"It will hardly be necessary again to stress the fact that my treatment of Aristotle is most sketchy—much more so than my treatment of Plato. The main purpose of what has been said about both of them is to show the rôle they have played in the rise of historicism and in the fight against the open society, and to show their influence on problems of our own time—on the rise of the oracular philosophy of Hegel, the father of modern historicism and totalitarianism."(21-22)

[Wonderlijk toch hoeveel woorden zo iemand als Popper nodig heeft om zijn punt onder de aandacht te brengen. 'Kijk eens wat ik allemaal heb gelezen!' Het is net Achterhuis. Ik denk dat alles goed helder zou kunnen worden in vijf bladzijden, hij gebruikt er vijfhonderd en blijft desondanks onhelder.]

"But the parallelism between the creed of the Great Generation, especially of Socrates, and that of early Christianity goes deeper. There is little doubt that the strength of the early Christians lay in their moral courage. It lay in the fact that they refused to accept Rome’s claim ‘that it was entitled to compel its subjects to act against their conscience’. The Christian martyrs who rejected the claims of might to set the standards of right suffered for the same cause for which Socrates had died.
It is clear that these matters changed very considerably when the Christian faith itself became powerful in the Roman empire. The question arises whether this official recognition of the Christian Church (and its later organization after the model of Julian the Apostate’s Neo-Platonic Anti-Church) was not an ingenious political move on the part of the ruling powers, designed to break the tremendous moral influence of an equalitarian religion—a religion which they had in vain attempted to combat by force as well as by accusations of atheism and impiety."(23)

[Weer het christendom als een open op gelijkheid en individualisme gerichte religie als in deel één: verzet tegen de staat, het volgen van een individueel geweten, dat soort dingen. Het conservatieve jodendom bleef volgens hem op het spoor van het totalitaire denken. Het latere christendom met Justinianus werd ook totalitair. Precies. Popper bedoelt altijd het vroege christendom dat grappig genoeg communistisch was.]

(27) Chapter 12 - Hegel and the New Tribalism

"Hegel, the source of all contemporary historicism, was a direct follower of Heraclitus, Plato, and Aristotle. Hegel achieved the most miraculous things. A master logician, it was child’s play for his powerful dialectical methods to draw real physical rabbits out of purely metaphysical silk-hats."(27)

[Hij beweerde allemaal dingen die natuurwetenschappelijk gezien onzin zijn op basis van zijn dialectische methode. Maar de manier waarop Popper dat beschrijft is weer bijzonder ad hominem. Hegel - dat is meteen duidelijk - kan niets goed doen.]

"Hegel’s success was the beginning of the ‘age of dishonesty’ (as Schopenhauer described the period of German Idealism) and of the ‘age of irresponsibility’ (as K. Heiden characterizes the age of modern totalitarianism); first of intellectual, and later, as one of its consequences, of moral irresponsibility; of a new age controlled by the magic of high-sounding words, and by the power of jargon."(28)

"Of German-speaking Universities, those of Roman Catholic Austria remained fairly unmolested, like islands in a flood."(29)

[Ja, stel je voor ... Daar heeft hij zelf namelijk gestudeerd.]

"Hegel’s influence, and especially that of his cant, is still very powerful in moral and social philosophy and in the social and political sciences (with the sole exception of economics). Especially the philosophers of history, of politics, and of education are still to a very large extent under its sway. In politics, this is shown most drastically by the fact that the Marxist extreme left wing, as well as the conservative centre, and the fascist extreme right, all base their political philosophies on Hegel; the left wing replaces the war of nations which appears in Hegel’s historicist scheme by the war of classes, the extreme right replaces it by the war of races; but both follow him more or less consciously. (The conservative centre is as a rule less conscious of its indebtedness to Hegel.)"(29-30)

"When in 1815 the reactionary party began to resume its power in Prussia, it found itself in dire need of an ideology. Hegel was appointed to meet this demand, and he did so by reviving the ideas of the first great enemies of the open society, Heraclitus, Plato, and Aristotle. Just as the French Revolution rediscovered the perennial ideas of the Great Generation and of Christianity, freedom, equality, and the brotherhood of all men, so Hegel rediscovered the Platonic ideas which lie behind the perennial revolt against freedom and reason. Hegelianism is the renaissance of tribalism."(30)

[Zo schematisch en zwart-wit, vreselijk. Dat wordt scannen, want hij gaat tot in detail aantonen dat hij gelijk heeft.]

"But is this all? And is it just? Is there nothing in the claim that Hegel’s greatness lies in the fact that he was the creator of a new, of a historical way of thinking—of a new historical sense?
Many of my friends have criticized me for my attitude towards Hegel, and for my inability to see his greatness. They were, of course, quite right, since I was indeed unable to see it. (I am so still.) In order to remedy this fault, I made a fairly systematic inquiry into the question, Wherein lies Hegel’s greatness? The result was disappointing."(59)

[Gek hè, als je het antwoord tevoren al weet ... ]

"I now proceed to the last part of my treatment of Hegelianism, to the analysis of the dependence of the new tribalism or totalitarianism upon the doctrines of Hegel.
If it were my aim to write a history of the rise of totalitarianism, I should have to deal with Marxism first; for fascism grew partly out of the spiritual and political breakdown of Marxism. (And, as we shall see, a similar statement may be made about the relationship between Leninism and Marxism.) Since my main issue, however, is historicism, I propose to deal with Marxism later, as the purest form of historicism that has so far arisen, and to tackle fascism first."(60)

"A very similar spirit lives in the work of the two leading philosophers of contemporary Germany, the ‘existentialists’ Heidegger and Jaspers, both originally followers of the essentialist philosophers Husserl and Scheler."(76)

[Gooi het allemaal maar op één hoop. Heidegger denkt compleet anders dan Husserl.]

"The Hegelian farce has done enough harm. We must stop it. We must speak—even at the price of soiling ourselves by touching this scandalous thing which, unfortunately without success, was so clearly exposed a hundred years ago. Too many philosophers have neglected Schopenhauer’s incessantly repeated warnings; they neglected them not so much at their own peril (they did not fare badly) as at the peril of those whom they taught, and at the peril of mankind."(79)

(81) Marx’s Method

(81) Chapter 13 - Marx’s Sociological Determinism

"Marxism, so far the purest, the most developed and the most dangerous form of historicism."(81)

[Om maar meteen duidelijk te maken waar Popper staat. Er is volgens hem niets humanistisch aan het marxisme. Uiteraard zullen we hem verder niet horen over het liberalisme en kapitalisme en alle ellende die die opgeleverd hebben en nog opeleveren.]

"Moreover, in contrast to the Hegelians of the right-wing, Marx made an honest attempt to apply rational methods to the most urgent problems of social life. The value of this attempt is unimpaired by the fact that it was, as I shall try to show, largely unsuccessful. Science progresses through trial and error. Marx tried, and although he erred in his main doctrines, he did not try in vain. He opened and sharpened our eyes in many ways. A return to pre-Marxian social science is inconceivable. All modern writers are indebted to Marx, even if they do not know it."(81-82)

"One cannot do justice to Marx without recognizing his sincerity. His open-mindedness, his sense of facts, his distrust of verbiage, and especially of moralizing verbiage, made him one of the world’s most influential fighters against hypocrisy and pharisaism. He had a burning desire to help the oppressed, and was fully conscious of the need for proving himself in deeds, and not only in words. His main talents being theoretical, he devoted immense labour to forging what he believed to be scientific weapons for the fight to improve the lot of the vast majority of men. His sincerity in his search for truth and his intellectual honesty distinguish him, I believe, from many of his followers (although unfortunately he did not altogether escape the corrupting influence of an upbringing in the atmosphere of Hegelian dialectics, described by Schopenhauer as ‘destructive of all intelligence’). Marx’s interest in social science and social philosophy was fundamentally a practical interest. He saw in knowledge a means of promoting the progress of man.
Why, then, attack Marx? In spite of his merits, Marx was, I believe, a false prophet. He was a prophet of the course of history, and his prophecies did not come true; but this is not my main accusation. It is much more important that he misled scores of intelligent people into believing that historical prophecy is the scientific way of approaching social problems.(82)

"Marx strongly emphasized the opposition between his purely historicist method and any attempt to make an economic analysis with a view to rational planning. Such attempts he denounced as Utopian, and as illegitimate. In consequence, Marxists did not even study what the so-called ‘bourgeois economists’ attained in this field. They were by their training even less prepared for constructive work than some of the ‘bourgeois economists’ themselves.
Marx saw his specific mission in the freeing of socialism from its sentimental, moralist, and visionary background. Socialism was to be developed from its Utopian stage to its scientific stage; it was to be based upon the scientific method of analysing cause and effect, and upon scientific prediction. And since he assumed prediction in the field of society to be the same as historical prophecy, scientific socialism was to be based upon a study of historical causes and historical effects, and finally upon the prophecy of its own advent."(83-84)

"For if there was to be a social science, and accordingly, historical prophecy, the main course of history must be predetermined, and neither good-will nor reason had power to alter it. All that was left to us in the way of reasonable interference was to make sure, by historical prophecy, of the impending course of development, and to remove the worst obstacles in its path. ‘When a society has discovered’, Marx writes in Capital14, ‘the natural law that determines its own movement, … even then it can neither overleap the natural phases of its evolution, nor shuffle them out of the world by a stroke of the pen. But this much it can do; it can shorten and lessen its birth-pangs.’ These are the views that led Marx to denounce as ‘Utopianists’ all who looked upon social institutions with the eyes of the social engineer, holding them to be amenable to human reason and will, and to be a possible field of rational planning. These ‘Utopianists’ appeared to him to attempt with fragile human hands to steer the colossal ship of society against the natural currents and storms of history. All a scientist could do, he thought, was to forecast the gusts and vortices ahead. The practical service he could achieve would thus be confined to issuing a warning against the next storm that threatened to take the ship off the right course (the right course was of course the left!) or to advising the passengers as to the side of the boat on which they had better assemble. Marx saw the real task of scientific socialism in the annunciation of the impending socialist millennium. Only by way of this annunciation, he holds, can scientific socialist teaching contribute to bringing about a socialist world, whose coming it can further by making men conscious of the impending change, and of the parts allotted to them in the play of history. Thus scientific socialism is not a social technology; it does not teach the ways and means of constructing socialist institutions. Marx’s views of the relation between socialist theory and practice show the purity of his historicist views."(86-87)

Meer over het historicisme van Comte, Mill, en Marx, waartussen veel overeenkomsten bestaan, volgens Popper.

(89) Chapter 14 - The Autonomy of Sociology

"The universal occurrence of a certain behaviour is not a decisive argument in favour of its instinctive character, or of its being rooted in ‘human nature’.
Such considerations may show how naïve it is to assume that all social laws must be derivable, in principle, from the psychology of ‘human nature’."(90)

"It must be admitted that the structure of our social environment is man-made in a certain sense; that its institutions and traditions are neither the work of God nor of nature, but the results of human actions and decisions, and alterable by human actions and decisions. But this does not mean that they are all consciously designed, and explicable in terms of needs, hopes, or motives. On the contrary, even those which arise as the result of conscious and intentional human actions are, as a rule, the indirect, the unintended and often the unwanted by-products of such actions."(93)

"The fact that psychologism is forced to operate with the idea of a psychological origin of society constitutes in my opinion a decisive argument against it. But it is not the only one. Perhaps the most important criticism of psychologism is that it fails to understand the main task of the explanatory social sciences. This task is not, as the historicist believes, the prophecy of the future course of history. It is, rather, the discovery and explanation of the less obvious dependences within the social sphere. It is the discovery of the difficulties which stand in the way of social action—the study, as it were, of the unwieldiness, the resilience or the brittleness of the social stuff, of its resistance to our attempts to mould it and to work with it."(94)

"This view of the aims of the social sciences arises, of course, from the mistaken theory that, whatever happens in society—especially happenings such as war, unemployment, poverty, shortages, which people as a rule dislike—is the result of direct design by some powerful individuals and groups. This theory is widely held; it is older even than historicism (which, as shown by its primitive theistic form, is a derivative of the conspiracy theory). In its modern forms it is, like modern historicism, and a certain modern attitude towards ‘natural laws’, a typical result of the secularization of a religious superstition. The belief in the Homeric gods whose conspiracies explain the history of the Trojan War is gone. The gods are abandoned. But their place is filled by powerful men or groups—sinister pressure groups whose wickedness is responsible for all the evils we suffer from—such as the Learned Elders of Zion, or the monopolists, or the capitalists, or the imperialists. (...) Conspirators rarely consummate their conspiracy.
Why is this so? Why do achievements differ so widely from aspirations? Because this is usually the case in social life, conspiracy or no conspiracy. Social life is not only a trial of strength between opposing groups: it is action within a more or less resilient or brittle framework of institutions and traditions, and it creates—apart from any conscious counter-action— many unforeseen reactions in this framework, some of them perhaps even unforeseeable."(95)

[Op deze manier kun je ook alles goed praten en voorkomen dat er personen of groepen of instituten verantwoording moeten afleggen over keuzes en handelingen. Dit klinkt net zo goed als determinisme als het determinisme van mensen met een samenzweringstheorie of zelfs van Marx.]

"We see here clearly that not all consequences of our actions are intended consequences; and accordingly, that the conspiracy theory of society cannot be true because it amounts to the assertion that all results, even those which at first sight do not seem to be intended by anybody, are the intended results of the actions of people who are interested in these results."(96)

[Die conclusie over samenzweringen lijkt me niet gerechtvaardigd: waarom zou het geloof in een samenzwering door mensen betekenen dat alles wat er gebeurt bedoeld moet zijn?]

(100) Chapter 15 - Economic Historicism

"The average Vulgar Marxist believes that Marxism lays bare the sinister secrets of social life by revealing the hidden motives of greed and lust for material gain which actuate the powers behind the scenes of history; powers that cunningly and consciously create war, depression, unemployment, hunger in the midst of plenty, and all the other forms of social misery, in order to gratify their vile desires for profit. (And the Vulgar Marxist is sometimes seriously concerned with the problem of reconciling the claims of Marx with those of Freud and Adler; and if he does not choose the one or the other of them, he may perhaps decide that hunger, love and lust for power3 are the Three Great Hidden Motives of Human Nature brought to light by Marx, Freud, and Adler, the Three Great Makers of the modern man’s philosophy. (…)
Whether or not such views are tenable and attractive, they certainly seem to have very little to do with the doctrine which Marx called ‘historical materialism’. (...) He looked upon the human actors on the stage of history, including the ‘big’ ones, as mere puppets, irresistibly pulled by economic wires—by historical forces over which they have no control.(...)
This doctrine of Marx’s has been abandoned by most of his followers— perhaps for propagandist reasons, perhaps because they did not understand him—and a Vulgar Marxist Conspiracy Theory has very largely replaced the ingenious and highly original Marxian doctrine. It is a sad intellectual come-down, this come-down from the level of Capital to that of The Myth of the 20th Century."(100-101)

"Marx, in opposition to Hegel, contended that the clue to history, even to the history of ideas, is to be found in the development of the relations between man and his natural environment, the material world; that is to say, in his economic life, and not in his spiritual life. This is why we may describe Marx’s brand of historicism as economism, as opposed to Hegel’s idealism or to Mill’s psychologism. But it signifies a complete misunderstanding if we identify Marx’s economism with that kind of materialism which implies a depreciatory attitude towards man’s mental life."(104)

"If we now proceed to a criticism as well as to an appreciation of Marx’s ‘historical materialism’, or of so much of it as has been presented so far, then we may distinguish two different aspects. The first is historicism, the claim that the realm of social sciences coincides with that of the historical or evolutionary method, and especially with historical prophecy. This claim, I think, must be dismissed. The second is economism (or ‘materialism’), i.e. the claim that the economic organization of society, the organization of our exchange of matter with nature, is fundamental for all social institutions and especially for their historical development. This claim, I believe, is perfectly sound, so long as we take the term ‘fundamental’ in an ordinary vague sense, not laying too much stress upon it."(106)

"For although the general importance of Marx’s economism can hardly be overrated, it is very easy to overrate the importance of the economic conditions in any particular case."(107)

"Often it is sweepingly interpreted as the doctrine that all social development depends upon that of economic conditions, and especially upon the development of the physical means of production. But such a doctrine is palpably false. There is an interaction between economic conditions and ideas, and not simply a unilateral dependence of the latter on the former."(107)

(111) Chapter 16 - The Classes

"The interest of a class is simply everything that furthers its power or its prosperity."(112)

"We cannot impose our interests upon the social system; instead, the system forces upon us what we are led to believe to be our interests. It does so by forcing us to act in accordance with our class interest. It is vain to lay on the individual, even on the individual ‘capitalist’ or ‘bourgeois’, the blame for the injustice, for the immorality of social conditions, since it is this very system of conditions that forces the capitalist to act as he does. And it is also vain to hope that circumstances may be improved by improving men; rather, men will be better if the system in which they live is better."(113-114)

[Ik weet niet of dit Marx goed weergeeft, maar ik zal denk ik wel altijd blijven vinden dat individuele mensen wel degelijk verantwoordelijk gesteld moeten worden voor keuzes die ze maken, ook daar waar ze economisch of maatschappelijk gezien onrechtvaardigheid veroorzaken. Natuurlijk zijn er 'externe omstandigheden', die zijn er altijd, maar dat neemt de verantwoordelijkheid voor je keuzes niet weg.]

"Indeed, the divergence of interests within both the ruling and the ruled classes goes so far that Marx’s theory of classes must be considered as a dangerous over-simplification, even if we admit that the issue between the rich and the poor is always of fundamental importance."(116)

(118) Chapter 17 - The Legal and the Social System

"The state, in brief, is just part of the machinery by which the ruling class carries on its struggle.
Before proceeding to develop the consequences of this view of the state, it may be pointed out that it is partly an institutional and partly an essentialist theory. It is institutional in so far as Marx tries to ascertain what practical functions legal institutions have in social life. But it is essentialist in so far as Marx neither inquires into the variety of ends which these institutions may possibly serve (or be made to serve), nor suggests what institutional reforms are necessary in order to make the state serve those ends which he himself might deem desirable."(118-119)

"What are the consequences of this theory of the state? The most important consequence is that all politics, all legal and political institutions as well as all political struggles, can never be of primary importance. Politics are impotent. They can never alter decisively the economic reality."(119)

"I am very far from defending Marx’s theory of the state. His theory of the impotence of all politics, more particularly, and his view of democracy, appear to me to be not only mistakes, but fatal mistakes. But it must be admitted that behind these grim as well as ingenious theories, there stood a grim and depressing experience. And although Marx, in my opinion, failed to understand the future which he so keenly wished to foresee, it seems to me that even his mistaken theories are proof of his keen sociological insight into the conditions of his own time, and of his invincible humanitarianism and sense of justice."(120-121)

"For Marx lived, especially in his younger years, in a period of the most shameless and cruel exploitation. And this shameless exploitation was cynically defended by hypocritical apologists who appealed to the principle of human freedom, to the right of man to determinate his own fate, and to enter freely into any contract he considers favourable to his interests.
Using the slogan ‘equal and free competition for all’, the unrestrained capitalism of this period resisted successfully all labour legislation until the year 1833, and its practical execution for many years more."(122)

"Such were the conditions of the working class even in 1863, when Marx was writing Capital; his burning protest against these crimes, which were then tolerated, and sometimes even defended, not only by professional economists but also by churchmen, will secure him forever a place among the liberators of mankind.
In view of such experiences, we need not wonder that Marx did not think very highly of liberalism, and that he saw in parliamentary democracy nothing but a veiled dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. And it was easy for him to interpret these facts as supporting his analysis of the relationship between the legal and the social system."(122)

"What have we to say to Marx’s analysis? Are we to believe that politics, or the framework of legal institutions, are intrinsically impotent to remedy such a situation, and that only a complete social revolution, a complete change of the ‘social system’, can help? Or are we to believe the defenders of an unrestrained ‘capitalist’ system who emphasize (rightly, I think) the tremendous benefit to be derived from the mechanism of free markets, and who conclude from this that a truly free labour market would be of the greatest benefit to all concerned?"(124)

"This, of course, means that the principle of non-intervention, of an unrestrained economic system, has to be given up; if we wish freedom to be safeguarded, then we must demand that the policy of unlimited economic freedom be replaced by the planned economic intervention of the state. We must demand that unrestrained capitalism give way to an economic interventionism. And this is precisely what has happened. The economic system described and criticized by Marx has everywhere ceased to exist."(125)

[Ja, hoor. Nee, dus, niet als je wereldwijd rondkijkt. En misschien ook wel niet in de westerse wereld. Zie de boeken van Naomi Klein. Bovendien zijn er nog andere redenen dan de factor arbeid om bedrijven aan banden te leggen, bv. het milieu, etc etc. Het is wonderlijk: Popper is zoals hierboven blijkt een fan van de vrije markt en tegelijkertijd zegt hij dat we bedrijven aan banden moeten leggen via allerlei instituten die belangrijke zaken reguleren. Maar het hele idee 'vrije markt' is bogus. Er is geen 'vrije markt'.]

"For according to Marx, the real power lies in the evolution of machinery; next in importance is the system of economic class-relationships; and the least important influence is that of politics.
A directly opposite view is implied in the position we have reached in our analysis. It considers political power as fundamental. Political power, from this point of view, can control economic power. This means an immense extension of the field of political activities. We can ask what we wish to achieve and how to achieve it. We can, for instance, develop a rational political programme for the protection of the economically weak. We can make laws to limit exploitation. We can limit the working day; but we can do much more. By law, we can insure the workers (or better still, all citizens) against disability, unemployment, and old age. In this way we can make impossible such forms of exploitation as are based upon the helpless economic position of a worker who must yield to anything in order not to starve. And when we are able by law to guarantee a livelihood to everybody willing to work, and there is no reason why we should not achieve that, then the protection of the freedom of the citizen from economic fear and economic intimidation will approach completeness. From this point of view, political power is the key to economic protection. Political power and its control is everything. Economic power must not be permitted to dominate political power; if necessary, it must be fought and brought under control by political power."(126)

[Nou, het ziet er naar uit dat Marx helemaal gelijk heeft gekregen: techniek speelt een enorme rol in hoe bedrijven hun winst maken, de klassentegenstellingen zijn groter dan ooit, politiek lijkt machteloos. Popper is naïef. Kijk eens naar het meest kapitalistische land ter wereld, de VS. Maar ook in Europa lopen de regeringen aan de leiband van het bedrijfsleven. Ik denk dat Popper nooit heeft gezien hoe het neoliberalisme de solidariteit van regeringen met de bevolkingen van landen zou uithollen. Maar dat is precies wat er nog steeds gebeurt. En dan hebben we het nog maar niet over Azië en Zuid-Amerika.]

"Moreover, from the point of view we have reached, what Marxists describe disparagingly as ‘mere formal freedom’ becomes the basis of everything else. This ‘mere formal freedom’, i.e. democracy, the right of the people to judge and to dismiss their government, is the only known device by which we can try to protect ourselves against the misuse of political power; it is the control of the rulers by the ruled. And since political power can control economic power, political democracy is also the only means for the control of economic power by the ruled.(127)

[Ook hier zie je die naïviteit. Parlementaire democratie is is helemaal niet in staat om een regering weg te sturen. Wat is nu toch de invloed van het uitbrengen van een stem in een wereld waarin politici de ene na de andere leugen debiteren en programma' schrijven die nooit gerealiseerd zullen worden als ze door het merendeel van de bevolking - die ze niet leest - al begrepen zouden kunnen worden?]

"Marx discovered the significance of economic power; and it is understandable that he exaggerated its status. He and the Marxists see economic power everywhere. Their argument runs: he who has the money has the power; for if necessary, he can buy guns and even gangsters. But this is a roundabout argument."(127)

"We must not blame anybody else any longer, nor cry out against the sinister economic demons behind the scenes. For in a democracy, we hold the keys to the control of the demons. We can tame them. We must realize this and use the keys; we must construct institutions for the democratic control of economic power, and for our protection from economic exploitation."(128-129)

[Marx heeft gewoon gelijk. Naast illegale middelen gebruiken de rijken en machtigen vooral ook alle denkbare legale middelen om nog rijker en machtiger te worden. Denk aan de belastingparadijzen etc. Hoe lang duurt het niet voordat de politiek bedrijven op de vingers tikt en regelingen treft die hout snijden? Neoliberale regeringen hebben er helemaal geen haast mee, blijkt steeds. Er is zo ontzettend veel ellende ontstaan door de deregulering en privatisering van de laatste halve eeuw.]

"They never realized the full significance of democracy as the only known means to achieve this control. As a consequence they never realized the danger inherent in a policy of increasing the power of the state."(129)

"But I wish to add here that economic intervention, even the piecemeal methods advocated here, will tend to increase the power of the state. Interventionism is therefore extremely dangerous. This is not a decisive argument against it; state power must always remain a dangerous though necessary evil. But it should be a warning that if we relax our watchfulness, and if we do not strengthen our democratic institutions while giving more power to the state by interventionist ‘planning’, then we may lose our freedom."(130)

(135) Marx prophecy

(135) Chapter 18 - The Coming of Socialism

"Marx’s historical prophecy can be described as a closely knit argument. But Capital elaborates only what I shall call the ‘first step’ of this argument, the analysis of the fundamental economic forces of capitalism and their influence upon the relations between the classes. The ‘second step’, which leads to the conclusion that a social revolution is inevitable, and the ‘third step’, which leads to the prediction of the emergence of a classless, i.e. socialist, society, are only sketched."(136)

"The worker can destroy his class enemy without endangering his own existence."(137-138)

[Dat is natuurlijk niet zo simpel.]

"Is it true that the workers’ victory must lead to a classless society? I do not think so. From the fact that of two classes only one remains, it does not follow that there will be a classless society.(138)

"The most likely development is, of course, that those actually in power at the moment of victory—those of the revolutionary leaders who have survived the struggle for power and the various purges, together with their staff—will form a New Class: the new ruling class of the new society, a kind of new aristocracy or bureaucracy; and it is most likely that they will attempt to hide this fact."(138)

[Dat is geen theorie meer, hij beschrijft gewoon wat er in feite gebeurd is na de Russische Revolutie.]

"Wishful thinking is apparently a thing that cannot be avoided. But it should not be mistaken for scientific thinking."(139)

(146) 19 - The Social Revolution

"Thus, as opposed to Marx’s prophecy which insists that there must develop a neat division between two classes, we find that on his own assumptions, the following class structure may possibly develop: (1) bourgeoisie, (2) big landed proprietors, (3) other landowners, (4) rural workers, (5) new middle class, (6) industrial workers, (7) rabble proletariat. (Any other combination of these classes may, of course, develop too.) And we find, furthermore, that such a development may possibly undermine the unity of (6)."(148)

(166) 20 - Capitalism and its Fate

Weergave van Das Kapital I

(193) 21 - An Evaluation of the Prophecy

"The arguments underlying Marx’s historical prophecy are invalid. His ingenious attempt to draw prophetic conclusions from observations of contemporary economic tendencies failed. The reason for this failure does not lie in any insufficiency of the empirical basis of the argument. Marx’s sociological and economic analyses of contemporary society may have been somewhat one-sided, but in spite of their bias, they were excellent in so far as they were descriptive. The reason for his failure as a prophet lies entirely in the poverty of historicism as such, in the simple fact that even if we observe to-day what appears to be a historical tendency or trend, we cannot know whether it will have the same appearance tomorrow."(193)

"Since I am criticizing Marx and, to some extent, praising democratic piecemeal interventionism (especially of the institutional kind explained in section VII to chapter 17), I wish to make it clear that I feel much sympathy with Marx’s hope for a decrease in state influence. It is undoubtedly the greatest danger of interventionism—especially of any direct intervention—that it leads to an increase in state power and in bureaucracy."(193)

"We must plan for freedom, and not only for security, if for no other reason than that only freedom can make security secure."(194)

[Dat klinkt als kretologie. Vrijheid kun je niet eten, je hebt eerst bestaanszekerheid nodig om vervolgens over vrijheid na te kunnen denken. Dat is ongetwijfeld de reden dat massa's mensen zich uitleveren aan dictatoren.]

"If Marx’s historical prophecies have been even partially successful, then we should certainly not dismiss his method lightly. But a closer view of Marx’s successes shows that it was nowhere his historicist method which led him to success, but always the methods of institutional analysis. Thus it is not an historicist but a typical institutional analysis which leads to the conclusion that the capitalist is forced by competition to increase productivity. It is an institutional analysis on which Marx bases his theory of the trade cycle and of surplus population. And even the theory of class struggle is institutional; it is part of the mechanism by which the distribution of wealth as well as of power is controlled, a mechanism which makes possible collective bargaining in the widest sense. Nowhere in these analyses do the typical historicist ‘laws of historical development’, or stages, or periods, or tendencies, play any part whatever. On the other hand, none of Marx’s more ambitious historicist conclusions, none of his ‘inexorable laws of development’ and his ‘stages of history which cannot be leaped over’, has ever turned out to be a successful prediction. Marx was successful only in so far as he was analysing institutions and their functions. And the opposite is true also: none of his more ambitious and sweeping historical prophecies falls within the scope of institutional analysis."(197)

"Roughly speaking, Marx shared the belief of the progressive industrialist, of the ‘bourgeois’ of his time: the belief in a law of progress. But this naïve historicist optimism, of Hegel and Comte, of Marx and Mill, is no less superstitious than a pessimistic historicism like that of Plato and Spengler."(197)

(199) 22 - The Moral Theory of Historicism

"But although Marx was strongly opposed to Utopian technology as well as to any attempt at a moral justification of socialist aims, his writings contained, by implication, an ethical theory. This he expressed mainly by moral evaluations of social institutions. After all, Marx’s condemnation of capitalism is fundamentally a moral condemnation. The system is condemned, for the cruel injustice inherent in it which is combined with full ‘formal’ justice and righteousness. The system is condemned, because by forcing the exploiter to enslave the exploited it robs both of their freedom. Marx did not combat wealth, nor did he praise poverty. He hated capitalism, not for its accumulation of wealth, but for its oligarchical character; he hated it because in this system wealth means political power in the sense of power over other men. Labour power is made a commodity; that means that men must sell themselves on the market. Marx hated the system because it resembled slavery."(199)

[ALLE kritiek komt voort uit impliciete morele overwegingen, ook die van Popper op Marx. Dat is in feite een open deur.]

"Marx, I believe, avoided an explicit moral theory, because he hated preaching. Deeply distrustful of the moralist, who usually preaches water and drinks wine, Marx was reluctant to formulate his ethical convictions explicitly. The principles of humanity and decency were for him matters that needed no discussion, matters to be taken for granted. (In this field, too, he was an optimist.) He attacked the moralists because he saw them as the sycophantic apologists of a social order which he felt to be immoral; he attacked the eulogists of liberalism because of their self-satisfaction, because of their identification of freedom with the formal liberty then existing within a social system which destroyed freedom. Thus, by implication, he admitted his love for freedom; and in spite of his bias, as a philosopher, for holism, he was certainly not a collectivist, for he hoped that the state would ‘wither away’. Marx’s faith, I believe, was fundamentally a faith in the open society."(199-200)

"In this sense one might say that the early Marxism, with its ethical rigour, its emphasis on deeds instead of mere words, was perhaps the most important corrective idea of our time4. This explains its tremendous moral influence."(201)

"But as we already know, these strong ‘activist’ tendencies of Marx’s are counteracted by his historicism. Under its influence, he became mainly a prophet. He decided that, at least under capitalism, we must submit to ‘inexorable laws’ and to the fact that all we can do is ‘to shorten and lessen the birth-pangs’ of the ‘natural phases of its evolution’. There is a wide gulf between Marx’s activism and his historicism, and this gulf is further widened by his doctrine that we must submit to the purely irrational forces of history. For since he denounced as Utopian any attempt to make use of our reason in order to plan for the future, reason can have no part in bringing about a more reasonable world. I believe that such a view cannot be defended, and must lead to mysticism. [Mijn nadruk]"(202)

[Popper heeft alles bij elkaar dus best veel waardering van allerlei aspecten in Marx' werk. Hij houdt alleen niet van zijn historische voorspellingen. Ik kan me niet goed voorstellen dat dit is hoe Marx naar de toekomst kijkt. Maar ik kan het nog niet beoordelen. Het lijkt me niet goed mogelijk om historische ontwikkelingen tegelijkertijd te zien als totaal irrationeel en als voorspelbaar op basis van bepaalde wetmatigheden die we rationeel zouden kunnen aantonen.]

"This theory of morality may be characterized as historicist because it holds that all moral categories are dependent on the historical situation; it is usually described as historical relativism in the field of ethics."(202)

"He wanted to improve society and improvement meant to him more freedom, more equality, more justice, more security, higher standards of living, and especially that shortening of the working day which at once gives the workers some freedom. It was his hatred of hypocrisy, his reluctance to speak about these ‘high ideals’, together with his amazing optimism, his trust that all this would be realized in the near future, which led him to veil his moral beliefs behind historicist formulations."(207)

"Marx’s historicist moral theory is, of course, only the result of his view concerning the method of social science, of his sociological determinism, a view which has become rather fashionable in our day. All our opinions, it is said, including our moral standards, depend upon society and its historical state. They are the products of society or of a certain class situation.(...)
A theory of this kind which emphasizes the sociological dependence of our opinions is sometimes called sociologism; if the historical dependence is emphasized, it is called historism. (Historism must not, of course, be mixed up with historicism.) Both sociologism and historism, in so far as they maintain the determination of scientific knowledge by society or history, will be discussed in the next two chapters."(209)

(212) The Aftermath

(212) 23 - The Sociology of Knowledge

"I have in mind the Marxist doctrine that our opinions, including our moral and scientific opinions, are determined by class interest, and more generally by the social and historical situation of our time. Under the name of ‘sociology of knowledge’ or ‘sociologism’, this doctrine has been developed recently (especially by M. Scheler and K. Mannheim) as a theory of the social determination of scientific knowledge.
The sociology of knowledge argues that scientific thought, and especially thought on social and political matters, does not proceed in a vacuum, but in a socially conditioned atmosphere. It is influenced largely by unconscious or subconscious elements. These elements remain hidden from the thinker’s observing eye because they form, as it were, the very place which he inhabits, his social habitat."(213)

"This theory of Hegel’s, and especially his doctrine that all knowledge and all truth is ‘relative’ in the sense of being determined by history, is sometimes called ‘historism’ (in contradistinction to ‘historicism’, as mentioned in the last chapter). The sociology of knowledge or ‘sociologism’ is obviously very closely related to or nearly identical with it, the only difference being that, under the influence of Marx, it emphasizes that the historical development does not produce one uniform ‘national spirit’, as Hegel held, but rather several and sometimes opposed ‘total ideologies’ within one nation, according to the class, the social stratum, or the social habitat, of those who hold them."(214)

"Thus the sociology of knowledge believes that the highest degree of objectivity can be reached by the freely poised intelligence analysing the various hidden ideologies and their anchorage in the unconscious. The way to true knowledge appears to be the unveiling of unconscious assumptions, a kind of psycho-therapy, as it were, or if I may say so, a socio-therapy. Only he who has been socio-analysed or who has socio-analysed himself, and who is freed from this social complex, i.e. from his social ideology, can attain to the highest synthesis of objective knowledge."(215)

[Dat is wel een heel eenzijdige weergave van de opvattingen daar. Volgens mij heeft hij alleen Mannheim gelezen. Popper wil absoluut de lijn kunnen doortrekken naar marxisme en 'historicisme' op een lijn zetten met 'sociologisme'. ]

"Marxists, in a like manner, are accustomed to explain the disagreement of an opponent by his class bias, and the sociologists of knowledge by his total ideology. Such methods are both easy to handle and good fun for those who handle them. But they clearly destroy the basis of rational discussion, and they must lead, ultimately, to anti-rationalism and mysticism.[Mijn nadruk]"(216)

[Hoe zouden we kunnen ontkennen dat kennis en zo sterk samenhangen met historische, maatschappelijke, psychologische context? Juist het accepteren van dat principe maakt rationele discussie nodig. En lang niet iedere kennissocioloog vindt dat het mogelijk is om die samenhang met context te overstijgen of maakt zichzelf immuun voor kritiek, integendeel. Ik zie werkelijk niet waarom het accepteren van dat uitgangspunt zou leiden tot antirationalisme en mystiek. Het zal leiden tot een besef van grote relativiteit, maar de uitdaging is juist dan om zo ver mogelijk te komen met het universeel geldend krijgen van waarheid en zo verder. Relationisme is niet hetzelfde als relativisme.]

But, all joking apart, there are more serious objections. The sociology of knowledge is not only self-destructive, not only a rather gratifying object of socio-analysis, it also shows an astounding failure to understand precisely its main subject, the social aspects of knowledge, or rather, of scientific method. It looks upon science or knowledge as a process in the mind or ‘consciousness’ of the individual scientist, or perhaps as the product of such a process."(217)

[Natuurlijk wordt wetenschap of kennis niet alleen gekoppeld aan een individu. Wat een slechte weergave van kennissociologie is dit.]

It is a matter of scientific method. And, ironically enough, objectivity is closely bound up with the social aspect of scientific method, with the fact that science and scientific objectivity do not (and cannot) result from the attempts of an individual scientist to be ‘objective’, but from the friendly-hostile co-operation of many scientists. Scientific objectivity can be described as the inter-subjectivity of scientific method. But this social aspect of science is almost entirely neglected by those who call themselves sociologists of knowledge."(217)

[Natuurlijk niet. Popper denkt blijkbaar dat de intersubjectieve kant van wetenschap bedrijven - het publieke karakter ervan, de wederzijdse kritiek, het 'spreken van dezelfde taal', de instituties die opgericht zijn met dat doel - niet ingebed is in context. Hij heeft het overigens weer opnieuw over de natuurwetenschappen en de economie en het is een idealiserend beeld.]

"Thus the sceptical attack upon science launched by the sociology of knowledge breaks down in the light of scientific method. The empirical method has proved to be quite capable of taking care of itself."(220)

[Wat een generaliserende onzin. En daarna heeft hij het over de vooroordelen van wetenschappers die intersubjectief overwonnen worden. Wat is het verschil met die socio-analyse waarover hij het eerder had als een kwalijke praktijk van de kennissociologen?]

The only course open to the social sciences is to forget all about the verbal fire-works and to tackle the practical problems of our time with the help of the theoretical methods which are fundamentally the same in all sciences. I mean the methods of trial and error, of inventing hypotheses which can be practically tested, and of submitting them to practical tests. A social technology is needed whose results can be tested by piecemeal social engineering."(222)

[Ook bijzonder generaliserend. Alsof er maar één wetenschappelijke aanpak bestaat, één methode, en dat is natuurlijk die van de natuurwetenschappen.]

"As opposed to this, the sociology of knowledge hopes to reform the social sciences by making the social scientists aware of the social forces and ideologies which unconsciously beset them. But the main trouble about prejudices is that there is no such direct way of getting rid of them. For how shall we ever know that we have made any progress in our attempt to rid ourselves from prejudice? Is it not a common experience that those who are most convinced of having got rid of their prejudices are most prejudiced?"(222-223)

(224) 24 - Oracular Philosophy and the Revolt Against Reason

This is why the conflict between rationalism and irrationalism has become the most important intellectual, and perhaps even moral, issue of our time."(224)

"Secondly, I use the word ‘rationalism’ in order to indicate, roughly, an attitude that seeks to solve as many problems as possible by an appeal to reason, i.e. to clear thought and experience, rather than by an appeal to emotions and passions. This explanation, of course, is not very satisfactory, since all terms such as ‘reason’ or ‘passion’ are vague ..."(224)

"We could then say that rationalism is an attitude of readiness to listen to critical arguments and to learn from experience. It is fundamentally an attitude of admitting that ‘I may be wrong and you may be right, and by an effort, we may get nearer to the truth’. It is an attitude which does not lightly give up hope that by such means as argument and careful observation, people may reach some kind of agreement on many problems of importance; and that, even where their demands and their interests clash, it is often possible to argue about the various demands and proposals, and to reach—perhaps by arbitration— a compromise which, because of its equity, is acceptable to most, if not to all. In short, the rationalist attitude, or, as I may perhaps label it, the ‘attitude of reasonableness’, is very similar to the scientific attitude, to the belief that in the search for truth we need co-operation, and that, with the help of argument, we can in time attain something like objectivity."(225)

"The fact that the rationalist attitude considers the argument rather than the person arguing is of far-reaching importance. It leads to the view that we must recognize everybody with whom we communicate as a potential source of argument and of reasonable information; it thus establishes what may be described as the ‘rational unity of mankind’."(225)

"... authoritarianism and rationalism in our sense cannot be reconciled, since argument, which includes criticism, and the art of listening to criticism, is the basis of reasonableness."(226)

"Reason, like science, grows by way of mutual criticism; the only possible way of ‘planning’ its growth is to develop those institutions that safeguard the freedom of this criticism, that is to say, the freedom of thought."(227)

"What I shall call the ‘true rationalism’ is the rationalism of Socrates. It is the awareness of one’s limitations, the intellectual modesty of those who know how often they err, and how much they depend on others even for this knowledge. It is the realization that we must not expect too much from reason; that argument rarely settles a question, although it is the only means for learning—not to see clearly, but to see more clearly than before.
What I shall call ‘pseudo-rationalism’ is the intellectual intuitionism of Plato. It is the immodest belief in one’s superior intellectual gifts, the claim to be initiated, to know with certainty, and with authority. According to Plato, opinion—even ‘true opinion’, as we can read in the Timaeus—‘is shared by all men; but reason’ (or ‘intellectual intuition’) ‘is shared only by the gods, and by very few men’. This authoritarian intellectualism, this belief in the possession of an infallible instrument of discovery, or an infallible method, this failure to distinguish between a man’s intellectual powers and his indebtedness to others for all he can possibly know or understand, this pseudo-rationalism is often called ‘rationalism’, but it is diametrically opposed to what we call by this name."(227)

"Accordingly, I shall distinguish in what follows between two rationalist positions, which I label ‘critical rationalism’ and ‘uncritical rationalism’ or ‘comprehensive rationalism’."(229-230)

"All these considerations show, I believe, that the link between rationalism and humanitarianism is very close, and certainly much closer than the corresponding entanglement of irrationalism with the anti-equalitarian and anti-humanitarian attitude. I believe that as far as possible this result is corroborated by experience. A rationalist attitude seems to be usually combined with a basically equalitarian and humanitarian outlook; irrationalism, on the other hand, exhibits in most cases at least some of the anti-equalitarian tendencies described, even though it may often be associated with humanitarianism also. My point is that the latter connection is anything but well founded."(240)

"Enough has been said, for the present purpose, to explain the terms ‘rationalism’ and ‘irrationalism’, as well as my motives in deciding in favour of rationalism, and the reason why I see in the irrational and mystical intellectualism which is at present so fashionable the subtle intellectual disease of our time. It is a disease which need not be taken too seriously, and it is not more than skin-deep. (Scientists, with very few exceptions, are particularly free from it.) But in spite of its superficiality, it is a dangerous disease, because of its influence in the field of social and political thought."(246-247)

"I do not wish to be misunderstood. I feel no hostility towards religious mysticism (only towards a militant anti-rationalist intellectualism) and I should be the first to fight any attempt to oppress it. It is not I who advocate religious intolerance. But I claim that faith in reason, or rationalism, or humanitarianism, or humanism, has the same right as any other creed to contribute to an improvement of human affairs, and especially to the control of international crime and the establishment of peace."(258)

(259) Conclusion

(259) 25 - Has History any Meaning?

In approaching the end of this book, I wish again to remind the reader that these chapters were not intended as anything like a full history of historicism; they are merely scattered marginal notes to such a history, and rather personal notes to boot."(259)

[Zo'n 600 bladzijden in twee delen 'marginal notes' noemen is vreemd. Waarom publiceer je dit dan als het zo marginaal is?]

"This does not mean that much in this book is purely a matter of opinion; in the few cases where I am explaining my personal proposals or decisions in moral and political matters, I have always made the personal character of the proposal or decision clear."(259)

[Dat denk ik niet. Dat gebeurt niet op een voldoende diep niveau. Er zijn allerlei leidende waarden en normen die niet geëxpliciteerd worden.]

Popper verdedigt een ‘searchlight theory of science'.

What the searchlight makes visible will depend upon its position, upon our way of directing it, and upon its intensity, colour, etc.; although it will, of course, also depend very largely upon the things illuminated by it. Similarly, a scientific description will depend, largely, upon our point of view, our interests, which are as a rule connected with the theory or hypothesis we wish to test; although it will also depend upon the facts described. Indeed, the theory or hypothesis could be described as the crystallization of a point of view."(260)

"All this is true, most emphatically, in the case of historical description, with its ‘infinite subject matter’, as Schopenhauer6 calls it. Thus in history no less than in science, we cannot avoid a point of view; and the belief that we can must lead to self-deception and to lack of critical care. This does not mean, of course, that we are permitted to falsify anything, or to take matters of truth lightly. Any particular historical description of facts will be simply true or false, however difficult it may be to decide upon its truth or falsity."(261)

Maar de rol van die 'point of view' in natuurwetenschappen tegenover historische wetenschappen verschilt. In de laatste zijn geen wetten mogelijk die op de achtergrond van verklaringen en voorspellingen een rol spelen.

For the theories or universal laws of generalizing science introduce unity as well as a ‘point of view’; they create, for every generalizing science, its problems, and its centres of interest as well as of research, of logical construction, and of presentation. But in history we have no such unifying theories; or, rather, the host of trivial universal laws we use are taken for granted; they are practically without interest, and totally unable to bring order into the subject matter."(264)

"Now it is important to see that many ‘historical theories’ (they might perhaps be better described as ‘quasi-theories’) are in their character vastly different from scientific theories. For in history (including the historical natural sciences such as historical geology) the facts at our disposal are often severely limited and cannot be repeated or implemented at our will. And they have been collected in accordance with a preconceived point of view; the so-called ‘sources’ of history record only such facts as appeared sufficiently interesting to record, so that the sources will often contain only such facts as fit in with preconceived theory. And if no further facts are available, it will often not be possible to test this theory or any other subsequent theory. Such untestable historical theories can then rightly be charged with being circular in the sense in which this charge has been unjustly brought against scientific theories. I shall call such historical theories, in contradistinction to scientific theories, ‘general interpretations’."(265-266)

"To sum up, there can be no history of ‘the past as it actually did happen’; there can only be historical interpretations, and none of them final; and every generation has a right to frame its own."(268)

Historicism is out to find The Path on which mankind is destined to walk; it is out to discover The Clue to History (as J. Macmurray calls it), or The Meaning of History. But is there such a clue? Is there a meaning in history? ... I answer: History has no meaning."(269)

"There is no history of mankind, there is only an indefinite number of histories of all kinds of aspects of human life. And one of these is the history of political power. This is elevated into the history of the world. But this, I hold, is an offence against every decent conception of mankind. It is hardly better than to treat the history of embezzlement or of robbery or of poisoning as the history of mankind."(270)

"We can interpret the history of power politics from the point of view of our fight for the open society, for a rule of reason, for justice, freedom, equality, and for the control of international crime. Although history has no ends, we can impose these ends of ours upon it; and although history has no meaning, we can give it a meaning.
It is the problem of nature and convention which we meet here again. Neither nature nor history can tell us what we ought to do. Facts, whether those of nature or those of history, cannot make the decision for us, they cannot determine the ends we are going to choose. It is we who introduce purpose and meaning into nature and into history. Men are not equal; but we can decide to fight for equal rights. Human institutions such as the state are not rational, but we can decide to fight to make them more rational. We ourselves and our ordinary language are, on the whole, emotional rather than rational; but we can try to become a little more rational, and we can train ourselves to use our language as an instrument not of self-expression (as our romantic educationists would say) but of rational communication."(278)

"Like gambling, historicism is born of our despair in the rationality and responsibility of our actions. It is a debased hope and a debased faith, an attempt to replace the hope and the faith that springs from our moral enthusiasm and the contempt for success by a certainty that springs from a pseudo-science; a pseudoscience of the stars, or of ‘human nature’, or of historical destiny."(279)

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