Positivism and anti-positivism - too binary
I have had influenza. I spent two days in bed reading Miracleman, watching South Park, and shivering. I wrote about Miracleman. This is what I wrote: "Miracleman is". But today I felt as if my brain woke up and I had energy for about 45 minutes this evening. So I read about positivism. Heisenberg, the great scientist and meth kingpin, had an opinion:
The positivists have a simple solution: the world must be divided into that which we can say clearly and the rest, which we had better pass over in silence. But can any one conceive of a more pointless philosophy, seeing that what we can say clearly amounts to next to nothing? If we omitted all that is unclear we would probably be left with completely uninteresting and trivial tautologies.
Is positivism really this absolute? On first encounter positivism seems like a description of science: you must really, rigorously know what you know and you don't know anything that isn't substantiated by rigor. That's fine for the natural world.
What would positivists say about the chance of rain? Would they refuse to say anything without a weather report, or would they express their hope that it is cloudy because they really caught the sun at the weekend? If they keep quiet, or shrug, well, this is less a case of philosophical pointlessness than poor social skills.
Is Kipling racist? Perhaps it it the case that a positivist would refuse to answer this question, because of it's subjectivity. This would be absurd because there's obviously discussion to be had.
I think these are straw men. I think I don't know enough about positivism and should stop right here.
Whatever I'm missing I am nevertheless happy, very happy, to say that there is much we don't know and to leave it at that. We don't know what happened before the big bang. I would love to know but I don't and neither does any other primate on this planet. And that's fine and to demand some answer, any answer, is childish idiocy that embarasses us all.