The third in the Conjectures and Refutations series, we cover Chapter 16: Prediction And Prophecy in the Social Sciences. There's a bit more Hitler stuff in this one than usual (retweets ≠ endorsements), but only because he provides a clear example of the motherlode of all bad ideas - historicism. We discuss:
- What historicism is and why it sucks
- Prediction vs prophecy
- Differences between the physical sciences and social sciences
- The success of prediction in the physical sciences
- The role of the social sciences
- What are laws of nature?
Plus a little easter egg! As always send us a little sumptin' sumptin' at email@example.com.
"In memory of the countless men, women and children of all creeds or nations or races who fell victims to the fascist and communist belief in Inexorable Laws of Historical Destiny."
- Epigraph of The Poverty of Historicism
"It was not by mere chance that the first forms of civilisation arose where the Aryan came into contact with inferior races, subjugated them and forced them to obey his command. The members of the inferior race became the first mechanical tools in the service of a growing civilisation. Thereby the way was clearly indicated which the Aryan had to follow.
As a conqueror, he subjugated inferior races and turned their physical powers into organised channels under his own leadership, forcing them to follow his will and purpose.
By imposing on them a useful, though hard, manner of employing their powers, he not only spared the lives of those whom he had conquered, but probably made their lives easier than they had been in the former state of so-called 'freedom.'" (italics added)
- Mein Kampf (The Stalag Edition), Chapter XI: Nation and Race
“But it is clear that the adoption of the conspiracy theory can hardly be avoided by those who believe that they know how to make heaven on earth. The only explanation for their failure to produce this heaven is the malevolence of the devil who has a vested interest in hell.”
- Conjectures and Refutations, Chapter 16: Prediction and Prophecy in the Social Sciences