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4.4 Can We Separate “Clinical” and “Scientific” Knowledge in the Real World? A Pragmatic Question

As I have shown in the previous sections, scientific knowledge is separated from clinical knowledge by scientific methodology. [1] However, American philosopher W. Quine (1980: 20) said that such a dichotomy is a “dogma” in modern epistemology. He pointed out two prepossessed dogmas. One is “a belief in some fundamental cleavage between truths which are analytic, or grounded in meanings independently of matters of fact, and truths which are synthetic, or grounded in fact.” And the other dogma is “the belief that each meaningful statement is equivalent to some logical construct upon terms which refer to immediate experience.” Quine said that both dogmas were ill founded.

Quine was not only a member of Henderson's academic team but also a student of Carnap. He is, so to speak, a man at the intersection of different methodologies. Quine suggested the significance of the “pragmatic way of thinking” and his characteristic philosophy is clear in the following address:

We can improve our conceptual scheme, our philosophy, bit by bit while continuing to depend on it for support; but we can not detach ourselves from it and compare it objectively with an un-conceptualized reality. Hence it is meaningless, I suggest, to inquire into the absolute correctness of a conceptual scheme as a mirror of reality. Our standard for appraising basic changes of conceptual scheme must be, not a realistic standard of correspondence to reality, but a pragmatic standard. Concepts are language, and the purpose of concepts and of language is efficacy in communication and in prediction. Such is the ultimate duty of language, science, and philosophy, and it is in relation to that duty that a conceptual scheme has finally to be appraised. (Quine 1980: 79)

In a dialogue with the Japanese philosopher Yasuhiko Tomita, Quine explained the concept of a 'conceptual scheme' as follows:

'Conceptual scheme' is a rather abstract general structure of the total theory of man. But if Carnap's concept of 'conceptual scheme' could be matching with my concept, it is in lesser degrees. The concept of 'conceptual scheme' is not a strategic one for me, it means only consistent general structure of man. (Tomita 1994: 45)

Though Quine criticized Carnap from a pragmatic perspective, he said to Tomita, “I am not a pragmatist, but I would venture to say a pragmatic empiricist.” In our perspective, the primary spokesperson for neo-pragmatism, R. Rorty, contributes to the expansion of this side of pragmatism. The characteristics of Rorty's “neo-pragmatism” can be summarized as follows (Rorty 1982: 162–166):

1. It is simply anti-essentialism applied to notions like “truth,” “knowledge,” “language,” “morality,” and similar objects of philosophical theorizing.

2. There is no epistemological difference between truth about what ought to be and truth about what is nor any metaphysical difference between facts and values nor any methodological difference between morality and science.

3. It is the doctrine that there are no constraints on inquiry save conversational ones – no wholesale constraints derived from the nature of the objects, or of the mind, or of language, but only those retail constraints provided by the remarks of our fellow inquirers.

According to Rorty (1982), the basic criterion to discriminate between “fact and value” or “morality and science” is based on the rule of conversation in the community, and “truth or not truth” is not decided by God, nature, or society, but is created by the community.

Now we will reconsider “clinical” and “scientific” knowledge as mentioned earlier. These two kinds of knowledge are also based on the rules of communication (a set of beliefs) in their own scientific (academic) and business (practical) communities. These kinds of knowledge have been created on a historical and cultural background, a so-called cosmology, if we use the anthropological term. It is difficult to achieve mutual understanding and interact between different communities. However, in the practical field of business administration, knowledge based on different cosmologies coexist simultaneously.

As shown in the previous section, Barnard differentiates between the cosmologies of businesspersons and of scientists. Businesspersons are focused on concrete problem solving using clinical knowledge obtained from observations. Their basis for “reality” exists in the field of real-world applications for business.

The goal of scientists is to find the “objective truth” by experimental tests or observation. Scientific knowledge accumulated in this way is made from sets of factual propositions, and they produce scientific “laws” or “principles.” The basic value of scientists is supported by such a belief and “cosmology.”

These two beliefs have determined the two directions of management theory: clinical-oriented and scientific-oriented management theory. Both types of management theory exist in the academic and practical fields of management. The methodological uniqueness of management theory is the coexistence of two different standpoints in a research field. In the practical field of management, both theories are interactive and they cannot be separated from each other. Therefore, we have to provide a new methodological standpoint involving clinical and scientific knowledge. We have to create a new “community of conversation,” as suggested by Rorty. In other words, we have to create a new “cosmology.”

  • [1] Arguments of this section are based on Mitsui (1995).
 
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