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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2005

Birger Hjørland

The purpose of this paper is to examine the importance and influence of the epistemologies: “empiricism”, “rationalism” and “positivism” in library and information science (LIS).

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the importance and influence of the epistemologies: “empiricism”, “rationalism” and “positivism” in library and information science (LIS).

Design/methodology/approach

First, outlines the historical development of these epistemologies, by discussing and identifying basic characteristics in them and by introducing the criticism that has been raised against these views. Second, their importance for and influence in LIS have been examined.

Findings

The findings of this paper are that it is not a trivial matter to define those epistemologies and to characterise their influence. Many different interpretations exist and there is no consensus regarding current influence of positivism in LIS. Arguments are put forward that empiricism and positivism are still dominant within LIS and specific examples of the influence on positivism in LIS are provided. A specific analysis is made of the empiricist view of information seeking and it is shown that empiricism may be regarded as a normative theory of information seeking and knowledge organisation.

Originality/value

The paper discusses basic theoretical issues that are important for the further development of LIS as a scholarly field.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 61 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 18 August 2014

Shelby Hunt

The purpose of this article is to chronicle the publication events in the 1980s and 1990s that framed the development of the series of controversies in marketing that are…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to chronicle the publication events in the 1980s and 1990s that framed the development of the series of controversies in marketing that are known as the “philosophy debates”.

Design/methodology/approach

The article uses a participant’s retrospective approach.

Findings

The article finds that seven publication events are key to understanding marketing’s philosophy debates. The seven are the publication of the “little green book” by Grid, Inc. in 1976; the philosophy of science panel discussion held at the Winter American Marketing Association Educators’ Conference in 1982; the special issue of the Journal of Marketing on marketing theory in 1983; three articles on the “critical relativist perspective” by the Journal of Consumer Research in 1986 and 1988; the “blue book” by South-Western in 1991; a trilogy of articles on truth, positivism and objectivity in the Journal of Marketing and the Journal of Consumer Research in 1990-1993; and an article on “rethinking marketing” in the European Journal of Marketing in 1994.

Originality/value

Chronicling the key publication events enables readers to understand what the debates were about and provides readers a starting point for further investigating the issues in the debates.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 1995

Gordon R. Foxall

Methodological pluralism in consumer research is usually confinedto post‐positivist interpretive approaches. Argues, however, that apositivistic stance, radical…

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Abstract

Methodological pluralism in consumer research is usually confined to post‐positivist interpretive approaches. Argues, however, that a positivistic stance, radical behaviourism, can enrich epistemological debate among researchers with the recognition of radical behaviourism′s ultimate reliance on interpretation as well as science. Although radical behaviourist explanation was initially founded on Machian positivism, its account of complex social behaviours such as purchase and consumption is necessarily interpretive, inviting comparison with the hermeneutical approaches currently emerging in consumer research. Radical behaviourist interpretation attributes meaning to behaviour by identifying its environmental determinants, especially the learning history of the individual in relation to the consequences similar prior behaviour has effected. The nature of such interpretation is demonstrated for purchase and consumption responses by means of a critique of radical behaviourism as applied to complex human activity. In the process, develops and applies a framework for radical behaviourist interpretation of purchase and consumption to four operant equifinality classes of consumer behaviour: accomplishment, pleasure, accumulation and maintenance. Some epistemological implications of this framework, the behavioural perspective model (BPM) of purchase and consumption, are discussed in the context of the relativity and incommensurability of research paradigms. Finally, evaluates the interpretive approach, particularly in terms of its relevance to the nature and understanding of managerial marketing.

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European Journal of Marketing, vol. 29 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1997

Peter L. Cruise

Since the 1950s, the unifying epistemological perspective in American public administration has been logical positivism, most notably as defined and promoted by Herbert…

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Abstract

Since the 1950s, the unifying epistemological perspective in American public administration has been logical positivism, most notably as defined and promoted by Herbert Simon. In recent years, logical positivism has been under attack for limiting inappropriately the scope of inquiry within the field, forcing it to ignore important, value‐laden issues critical to government and the public sector. The willingness to address value‐laden issues was at the core of what was to become the field of public administration in the early twentieth‐century. This article examines the philosophical roots of logical positivist movement, its dramatic effects upon public administration, and the subsequent counter attacks on the movement. The article concludes that although logical positivism’s attack on public administration initially weakened the field, as a result practitioners and scholars were eventually to demand increased rigor and higher standards of inquiry for research in the field.

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Journal of Management History, vol. 3 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-252X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2003

Peter L. Cruise

Beginning in the late 1940s, classical Public Administration was challenged by the works of Herbert Simon and the movement he started, logical positivism. Although only…

Abstract

Beginning in the late 1940s, classical Public Administration was challenged by the works of Herbert Simon and the movement he started, logical positivism. Although only writing in the field for a few years, Simon shifted the locus and focus of the field so dramatically, for a time it almost disappeared from view. This article examines Simonʼns legacy, first by exploring its philosophical antecedents and its later epistemological progeny. The article concludes with an assessment of how the field of Public Administration responded to Simonʼns challenge in the late twentieth century and now, early in the twenty first century.

Details

International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

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Book part
Publication date: 14 June 2018

Tony Lawson

The versions of positivism that are critically assessed in Bruce Caldwell’s Beyond Positivism bear two dominant sets of implications. One is that knowledge growth is…

Abstract

The versions of positivism that are critically assessed in Bruce Caldwell’s Beyond Positivism bear two dominant sets of implications. One is that knowledge growth is monistic in nature; the other is that science has a specific deductivist structure. Caldwell focuses mainly on the former and its critics. I argue here that the second set of implications always did, and still does, perhaps more than ever, warrant critical attention.

Details

Including a Symposium on Bruce Caldwell’s Beyond Positivism After 35 Years
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-126-7

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Book part
Publication date: 14 June 2018

Peter Boettke, Solomon Stein and Virgil Henry Storr

When Beyond Positivism was published 35 years ago, it presented a compelling case for methodological change in the economics profession. That case remains equally…

Abstract

When Beyond Positivism was published 35 years ago, it presented a compelling case for methodological change in the economics profession. That case remains equally compelling in the present day as, tragically, economics remains largely without the methodological pluralism at the heart of Beyond Positivism’s message. Among the costs of an environment of methodological myopia are widespread misinterpretations and the diversion of scholars from efforts at economic understanding to methodological wrangling, which we illustrate using the experience of Austrian economics in the 20th century. Beyond Positivism, we suggest, continues to provide the intellectual case for a pluralist discipline of economics, but one that requires complementary institutional reforms to come to fruition.

Details

Including a Symposium on Bruce Caldwell’s Beyond Positivism After 35 Years
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-126-7

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Book part
Publication date: 26 August 2010

Filipe J. Sousa

No scholar or researcher is able to provide robust evidence that counters the scant reflection on metatheory – mostly ontology and epistemology – underlying management…

Abstract

No scholar or researcher is able to provide robust evidence that counters the scant reflection on metatheory – mostly ontology and epistemology – underlying management studies in general, and industrial marketing and purchasing research in particular. This paper is a contribution to the indispensable discussion of metatheoretical alternatives in research, and most importantly, the strengths and shortcomings thereof, and respective implications on research questions, objectives, and findings.

Details

Organizational Culture, Business-to-Business Relationships, and Interfirm Networks
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-306-5

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Article
Publication date: 11 October 2021

Jean-Etienne Joullié and Robert Spillane

This article aims to propose a critical review of James G. March’s research in and particular its consistency with its epistemological and psychological underpinnings.

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to propose a critical review of James G. March’s research in and particular its consistency with its epistemological and psychological underpinnings.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper proposes a textual and conceptual analysis of James G. March’s study.

Findings

The article argues first that March’s study exemplifies the “physics envy” typical of management and organisation studies scholars since the early 1960s. Second, evidence is presented that March’s conclusions, irrespective of their legacy on management and organisation studies, were not developed along and were not consistent with the foundations that March espoused and advocated during most of his career. As a result, the implications of his conclusions are uncertain. To his credit, however, there are reasons to believe that, towards the end of his career, March came to recognise the limitations of his scholarship. Further, he indicated an alternative avenue for organisation studies which eschews the shortcomings of positivist and post-modern research.

Research limitations/implications

Although centred on March’s work, the argument presented is relevant to psychology, organisations, choice, the nature of knowledge, the limitations of positivism and post-modernism.

Originality/value

The paper balances the perspective offered by recent celebratory reviews of March’s study.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Book part
Publication date: 14 June 2018

Kevin D. Hoover

Caldwell’s Beyond Positivism was a key publication that helped precipitate the consolidation of the methodology of economics into a distinct subfield within economics…

Abstract

Caldwell’s Beyond Positivism was a key publication that helped precipitate the consolidation of the methodology of economics into a distinct subfield within economics. Reconsidering it after 35 years, it is striking for its antinaturalism (i.e., its lack of deference to the actual practices of economics) or, perhaps, for its meta-naturalism (displayed in its excessive deference to the philosophy of science) and for its defense of pluralism. It offers pluralism as an unsuccessful defense against dogmatism. Against Caldwell’s pluralism, dogmatism is better opposed by a commitment of fallibilism and scientific humility. Caldwell’s defense of Austrian methodology is taken as a case study to illustrate and investigate his key themes and the issues that they raise.

Details

Including a Symposium on Bruce Caldwell’s Beyond Positivism After 35 Years
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-126-7

Keywords

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