Volume 22, Issue 3, 2012
Civilization and Science
Knowledge Society or Wisdom Society? Nicholas Maxwell’s Philosophical Project against the Background of Philosophical Tradition
The article discusses philosophical foundations of Nicholas Maxwell’s theory of scientific knowledge—Aim Oriented Empiricism (AOE). It is demonstrated that AOE evokes many illuminating, overshadowed by positivistic tradition, insights on the nature of cognition, language, and the relationship between philosophy and strict sciences. It corresponds with Jürgen Habermas’s theory of speech acts and R. G. Collingwood’s account of philosophical method. What calls serious doubts, though, is the very way in which Maxwell relates his conception to the project of wisdom society. It is argued that while AOE considerably contributes to our understanding of science, wisdom and rationality, it nonetheless falls short of giving a convincing account of how the idea of wisdom society should be implemented.