Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Logical Positivism - In Our Time

Before the episode is going to be taken off line tomorrow, here is a reminder to go ahead and download BBC In Our Time's latest issue Logical Positivism.

Somehow, it was especially fascinating to hear this episode so shortly after finishing the BBC Reith Lectures by Michael Sandel. Maybe it is my personal impression, but somehow, Sandel's plea to allow for morality to enter the public debate seems to fit not so well with logical positivism. Logical positivism was all about pushing away from science (and thus in many ways, away from the public debate) all issues that could not rationally be decided by data and systematic observation. By all means this seems to reflect our qualms to debate issues of morality, religion, spirituality and grand ideologies.

Certainly, logical positivism only addressed science, not the public or the political debate. But in a technocratic society, science seems to be the highest authority to turn to for ultimately deciding about false and true. Albeit, truth is a rather tricky fellow to capture and it is therefore surprising that the program about Logical Positivism hardly addressed Karl Popper's contribution through the approach of falsification. But surely this is because Popper had his own chapter of In Our Time.

More In Our Time:
The Sunni - Shia split,
Revenge Tragedy,
The Augustan Age,
The trial of king Charles I,
St. Paul.

More BBC Reith Lectures 2009:
A politics of the common good,
The bioethics concern,
Morality in Politics,
Morality and the Market.
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