PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE: RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR DEVELOPING AN EGYPTIAN MARKETING SCIENCE AHMED I. GHONEIM Cairo University
The main theme of this paper is that non-Egyptian marketing science is not completely valid for us in Egypt. Accepting a hypothesis derived from a non-Egyptian theory does not mean the theory is "true" because, to the contrary of the old philosophy of science, no finite number of empirical tests can ever establish the truth of any theory. Similarly, rejecting a hypothesis derived from a non-Egyptian theory does not add much to our knowledge since we know in advance that marketing theories are contextually bounded according to the new philosophy of science. Also on what basis would we reject that hypothesis? is it the hypothesis itself that is wrong or the process of testing a non-Egyptian hypothesis against Egyptian data that is logically wrong?
The issues highlighted in this paper are exceedingly controversial. The author hopes for, and certainly welcomes scholarly criticism for more refinement of that extremely important topic.
This paper starts with outlining and briefly evaluating the "old” philosophical schools of science. Attention turns next to highlighting the "new" philosophical approaches; the R/C perspective. From this follows an appraisal of the R/C approach. The discussion then takes up the impact of the new approach on the development of marketing theory and research. Finally, suggestions for doing marketing science in Egypt are briefly presented.
THE OLD PHILOSOPHICAL SCHOOLS OF SCIENCE
Positivism emerged during the 192O's by an informal group of scientists and philosophers of science called "Vienna Circle". Positivism is centered on a major principle called verification theory of meaning. This theory means that scientific propositions are only meaningful if they can be empirically verified (Anderson 1983). The goal of science in the Positivistic view is to establish "Truth"; the absolute truth by testing theories against reality through empirical tests. As a result, Positivism ran into the problem of induction. That is, positivism assumes that propositions are only true if, and only if, they have been verified by empirical tests, yet no finite number of tests can ever guarantee the truth of scientific propositions. This means that absolute truth can never be established. Due to this difficulty, a new moderate version of Positivism was developed and became known as logical Empiricism.
Carnap admitted that "complete and definitive establishment of truth" is hard to get and replaced it with the idea of "gradually increasing
confirmation", through the accumulation of the successful empirical tests. Empiricism is characterized by the Inductive-Statistical (I-S) law However, the use of the probabilistic linkage between explanans and explanandum does not resolve the problem of induction and it remains a circular one. Another problem with the Empiricism is that observations are nearly always subject to measurement errors especially in social sciences. The third problem is that observations are theory laden; that is, data are always interpreted in the light of our prior theories. The history of science shows that, as Kuhn puts it, what a man sees depends on what he looks at and what he is taught to see. To overcome some of these problems, Popper has offered Falsificationism as an alternative.
Popper accepts the notion of data is theory laden. Falsificationism holds that science progresses by a process of "conjectures and refutation". In this view the objective of empirical tests is the refutation of the tested hypotheses. When a single hypothesis is refuted, it is the theory itself from which that hypothesis is derived that is falsified. Any hypothesis can be refuted by any single negative instance. This is done by what Popper called "Crucial experiment". Lakatos...
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