Context: Due to its grounding in a simplistic core model, mainstream theoretical work in economics is heavily conditioned by a realist epistemic framework that may be viewed as the “paradogma” – sensu Mitterer – of economics. Problem: The contribution delineates theoretical developments on the basis of a realist epistemology and their problem-laden consequences for the economic sciences. The subsequent critical discussion seeks to clarify whether economic theory formation is a suitable field for the application of Mitterer’s non-dualist ideas. Method: In the context of a review of their historical background, the paper will explore the possibilities and limits of an application of Mitterer’s non-dualist argumentation to the economic sciences, and present a diagnosis of compatibility and a characterisation of necessary steps towards amplification. Results: It can be shown that the economic sciences would gain in expert knowledge and applicability by adopting the alternative of non-dualism, whose potential has been little appreciated so far. The solution to the meta-scientific problems caused by the pre-structuring of economics in terms of a realist epistemology seems at hand. To take up this new meta-scientific perspective, however, theoretical progress in both non-dualism and economics is required, particularly by paying more serious attention to the theoretical component of communication. Implications: Non-dualism can certainly be utilised by the economic sciences to induce radical innovations and conceptional revisions involving higher meta-scientific consistency. In future, pragmatic gaps will increasingly have to be filled conceptually in order to develop more highly-reflected economic theory formation and corresponding scientific practice. Hence the main idea is that economic actions are inevitably, but not exclusively, based on communication. Constructivist content: Theoretical approaches embracing epistemic relativism in the economic sciences will be properly assessed and developed further along the lines of a non-dualist conceptual revision on the basis of an ontology-free understanding of reality.
Context: The short history of the reception of the philosophy of non-dualism in science is a history of misunderstandings and cursory reception – the latter especially concerns Mitterer’s main work Das Jenseits der Philosophie (The Beyond of Philosophy, which still has not been translated into English). Non-dualism so far is mostly seen either as a kind of constructivism replacing the rhetoric of “construction” with a rhetoric of “description” or as an overall philosophical critique of the use of dualisms, dichotomies or polarities in epistemological contexts. The core arguments of non-dualism are often completely ignored. This paper wishes to discuss them precisely and draw some conclusions. Approach: Close critical reading of Mitterer’s texts, trying to avoid as many translation gaps as possible. Findings: Non-dualism reveals the infinite regress of classical philosophy of language: the categorical differentiation between language and the world leads to a systematic contradiction. While non-dualism also helps to deconstruct the pretension to speak “about reality” or to claim that “in fact” something is the case in everyday life, non-dualism refrains from giving satisfying answers to the great questions of mankind in the “metaphysical” context: questions of starting points/origins, meanings, causes, and the (implicitness of the) time arrow. Benefits: The intention of this paper is to stimulate a broader discussion – so far limited by language – extending it beyond German and Polish scientific circles.
Context: Is non-dualist epistemology, based on the unity of descriptions and objects, logically consistent? Problem: What is the status of the infinite regresses that the non-dualist Josef Mitterer, in his book The Beyond of Philosophy, censures in dualist thought? Their academic discussion is still in its infancy. Method: An attempt to reconstruct and differentiate Mitterer’s infinite regress accusations against dualism (originating from the 1970s) with today’s means and distinctions. Results: A weak and a strong linguistic principle are presented (non-dualism being subsumed under the strong linguistic principle), which are defined as such depending on whether the infinite regresses of dualism are interpreted as benign or as vicious. Implications: Further penetrating investigation of the infinite regresses highlighted by Mitterer is of crucial importance because these regresses have not yet been discussed and classified in relevant current publications on infinite regress arguments by authors such as Rescher or Gratton. Such proper classification is indispensable, however, if the value of the non-dualist alternative to, and its critique of, dualist thought is to be assessed adequately.
Purpose: Tracing the historical roots of Mitterer’s non-dualizing philosophy in Austrian philosophers who studied the relationship between object and language around 1900. Method: Discussing the epistemological relevance of the “tertium non datur” principle and disclosing the mutual influence of early language critics Mauthner, Stöhr, and Wahle, who also anticipated many of Wittgenstein’s later insights. Findings: Mitterer’s philosophy can be considered the endpoint of the Austrian tradition of language criticism. His non-dualizing approach is a methodological constructivism that does not comply with “tertium non datur.” Implications: Non-dualizing philosophy can also be applied to media theory.
Context: Josef Mitterer has become known for criticizing the main exponents of analytic and constructivist philosophy for their blind adoption of a dualistic epistemology based on an alleged ontological difference between world and words. Judith Butler, who has developed an influential model of (de)constructivist feminism and has been labeled a linguistic constructivist, has been criticized for sustaining exactly what, according to Mitterer, most modern philosophy fails to acknowledge: namely that there is no ontological difference between objective facts beyond language and the discourse about these facts. Problem: In the scholarly discussion on non-dualism, two main questions have been raised: Where does Mitterer’s basic consensus, i.e., the starting-point description, come from? and: What does it mean, to say that further descriptions change their object? Method: Comparative analysis of the core concepts of Mitterer’s and Butler’s work in the context of the history of ideas. Results: Butler’s conception of a performative production of objectivity through discursive and non-discursive iterated practices can be interpreted as an illustration of Mitterer’s claim that descriptions change their object. The problem of where Mitterer’s starting-point descriptions come from can be solved by adopting Butler’s concept of culturally inherited practices.