Against Positivism: principle of verification entails testing as a means of verifying.

Against Inductionism: Christmas turkey famous tail. Inductivism is not a reliable principle of scientific prediction. The turkey was fed everyday, yet his happiness and well-being got taken away. The turkey could not ‘induce’ from empirical observation of cumulative data that he would end up on a plate at a xmas table.

Falsificationism: generalisations cannot be inductively verified. Theories are only scientific when they are falsifiable. Principle of deductive causal explanation.

Essentially critical attitude within open society encourages growth of knowledge.


AGAINST HISTORICISM                                                                                         LAWS vs TRENDS

Trends cannot account for reversal of conditions. No prediction is possible


Positively able to discern inevitable thelos


Universal laws predict outcome under different conditions


No laws are equally applicable to two different periods


Piecemeal social engineering: less risky, negative utilitarianism=if thigns go wrong they can be adjusted- preventing and limiting of damages.

Actors involved are more likely to agree on what counts as success.

Open and critical: based on falsifiable social experiments. Main concern is not with who exercises power but on how/how much power should be exercised.


Large-Scale social engineering. Planning=Oedipus effect: self-knowledge affects those who predict.

Utopian engineering=aims at distant paradise, postpones action until favourable conditions arise;

Actors involved cannot judge whether their own actions work towards or away from the aim.

We cannot change anything unless we change everything.



the whole is superior to the sum of its parts: individual actions cannot be separated from social organism.



Analyses the internal logisitics of a situation in order to find internal laws for explanation of unintended consequences of individual actions.