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Popper's new chopper: positivism, postmodernism, and the quest for objectivity in criminology

Ben Heylen (UGent)
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Abstract
In this workshop a paper is presented which discusses the potential the thought of Karl Popper has for social sciences such as criminology. The starting point is the vanishing hope on objectivity in the interpretative postmodern tradition and the often mistaken conception of objectivity in the positivist tradition. It will be argued that both share some fundamental misconceptions about objectivity in the Popperian sense. Consequently, an alternative will be offered. To conclude, arguments in defence of the unity of the scientific method are presented, which comprise both interpretative and positivist methods. Throughout the paper, examples from the field of criminology are offered to indicate the possibilities of a Popperian approach to the social sciences. In a “postscript”, a general appraisal for the work of Karl Popper, one of the greatest philosophers of the past and probably also the next century, is offered. His legacy proves to be utterly relevant for the social sciences even though it has never received the attention it deserves by social scientists, it being understood that it is in need of further development, geared to the rather specific object of study of the social sciences.
Keywords
unity of scientific method, objectivity, Popper, interpretative science

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Chicago
Heylen, Ben. 2010. “Popper’s New Chopper: Positivism, Postmodernism, and the Quest for Objectivity in Criminology.” In 10th European Society of Criminology Conference (ESC - 2010), Abstracts.
APA
Heylen, B. (2010). Popper’s new chopper: positivism, postmodernism, and the quest for objectivity in criminology. 10th European Society of Criminology Conference (ESC - 2010), Abstracts. Presented at the 10th European Society of Criminology Conference (ESC - 2010).
Vancouver
1.
Heylen B. Popper’s new chopper: positivism, postmodernism, and the quest for objectivity in criminology. 10th European Society of Criminology Conference (ESC - 2010), Abstracts. 2010.
MLA
Heylen, Ben. “Popper’s New Chopper: Positivism, Postmodernism, and the Quest for Objectivity in Criminology.” 10th European Society of Criminology Conference (ESC - 2010), Abstracts. 2010. Print.
@inproceedings{1181525,
  abstract     = {In this workshop a paper is presented which discusses the potential the thought of Karl Popper has for social sciences such as criminology. The starting point is the vanishing hope on objectivity in the interpretative postmodern tradition and the often mistaken conception of objectivity in the positivist tradition. It will be argued that both share some fundamental misconceptions about objectivity in the Popperian sense. Consequently, an alternative will be offered.  To conclude, arguments in defence of the unity of the scientific method are presented, which comprise both interpretative and positivist methods. Throughout the paper, examples from the field of criminology are offered to indicate the possibilities of a Popperian approach to the social sciences. In a {\textquotedblleft}postscript{\textquotedblright}, a general appraisal for the work of Karl Popper, one of the greatest philosophers of the past and probably also the next century, is offered. His legacy proves to be utterly relevant for the social sciences even though it has never received the attention it deserves by social scientists, it being understood that it is in need of further development, geared to the rather specific object of study of the social sciences.},
  author       = {Heylen, Ben},
  booktitle    = {10th European Society of Criminology Conference (ESC - 2010), Abstracts},
  keyword      = {unity of scientific method,objectivity,Popper,interpretative science},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Li{\`e}ge, Belgium},
  title        = {Popper's new chopper: positivism, postmodernism, and the quest for objectivity in criminology},
  year         = {2010},
}