The central relevance of scientific methodology arises because
methodology alone justifies and legitimizes the difference between science
and other forms of cognition. Science is the place where
scientific knowledge is generated. In this place, by means of
scientific methodology, scientific knowledge is guaranteed
and constituted, so that science lends scientific authority to this
knowledge (see Chart 1: Scientific operations and scientific
discourses with reference to political science).
In antiquity methodology established the transition from myth to logos,
and still today it makes it possible to distinguish between scientific
knowledge and other forms of knowledge that are not scientifically, i.
not methodologically and not systematically generated. My work focuses on three
projects in methodology:
2. Main focal points
The search for scientific answers to political questions forms the core
of my work. I acknowledge empirical (descriptive, explanative and
prognostic) answers; my claim is to
formulate and justify practical (normative, pragmatic,
technical-instrumental) answers using scientific tools: concepts, sentences,
theories, logics, reasoning, methods and methodological approaches (see Chart 2: Knowledge (Wissen)
versus capability (Können) and Chart 3: Knowledge (theory) versus
Methodological questions can, in my opinion, only be adequately adressed
within a participatory scientific methodology. This requires,
first, that one deals with philosophical questions
secondly, that one examines the concrete axiological, conceptual, epistemological,
methodological and ontological considerations within a concrete discipline
Practical Political Science);
and thirdly, that one applies the methodology thus developed to concrete,
paradigmatic examples. Science theory (i. the philosophical foundations of science) is
pursued as a participatory science methodology using the following concrete fields within political science:
Connecting tradition and progress
In particular, using the example of these three topics, scientific tools
(concepts and methodological approaches) were faithfully explained,
explicated, clarified, reconstructed, newly developed or further developed
according to my guiding idea (Motto), “connecting tradition and
Progress is possible and meaningful only when it is based on tradition. If
one first acquires the tradition, one avoids unwelcome surprises. New
developments mostly are not revolutions; originality is often wrongly claimed,
but this is most frequently due to a lack of foundational knowledge. As an
intellectual joker once stated, “Originality is a lack of literature knowledge,
i. knowledge of the scientific literature”
(“´Originalität ist Mangel an Literaturkenntnis´, hat ein intellektueller Spaßvogel einmal behauptet" (Klaus
Gustav Heinrich von Beyme, 2005: Das Zeitalter der Avantgarden:
Kunst und Gesellschaft 1905-1955. München: C. H. Beck. p. 17).
"What you have inherited from your fathers / Acquire it to own it", „Was du ererbt von deinen Vätern hast,/Erwirb es, um es zu besitzen“
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1978 : Faust. Goethes Faust-Dichtungen.
Bearbeitet von Gotthard Erler. Nachwort und bibliographische Hinweise Gerhard
Pickerodt. München: Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag. S. 171 [Vers: 682-683], my
1: Scientific operations and scientific discourses with reference to political science
1. Analytical operations of political science
|Analytical discourse: Analytical
discourse includes analytical operations and generates analytical
knowledge. This especially includes political concepts or
categories, but also models for analyzing political reality
and for legitimizing practic-political standardization and
These are conceptual or logical truths in the form of non-empirical,
or operations concerning what is, or what constitutes political reality,
(descriptions, explanations and predictions), and sentences
about valid standardization and regulation of a political system
|2.1 Descriptive operation or
descriptions of political reality
Descriptive discourse: In this case, the aim is to
understand political reality. What exists becomes the
focus of attention – using descriptive-interpretative methods a
picture is created of what everyday politics is like in a political
system: Power structures, dependencies and political decision-making
processes are considered and examined in more detail. This also includes
truth-apt statements regarding maxims for action (guidelines, norms,
principles and values). These are identified and described, e.g. the
welfare state postulate, e.g. Article 20 of the German Constitution.
However, it also includes a detailed description of action strategies and
instruments such as social security systems.
|2.2 Explanatory operation or
Explanatory discourse: Political reality also requires causal
explanations. For example, there are explanations for demographic
developments, but also for why social policy has developed in one way and
|2.3 Predictive operation
or predictions with respect to future political developments
Predictive discourse: The need to predict future
developments with forecast is central: It makes sense to take a
look into the future in order to provide decision-makers in the present
with important key information.
|3. Practical operations of
or operations concerning what ought to be,
containing discourses on standardizations or
regulations, e.g. maxims of action, strategies of action, instruments for
action, instructions for action and practical judgements
Handlungsinstrumente, Handlungsanweisungen und
|3.1 Normative operation or normative
dimension of policy
|Normative discourse or
In this case, the political maxims of action (Handlungsmaximen)
which are decisive for the standardization or regulation of the political
system as a whole or of a policy area should be discussed.
|3.2 Pragmatic operation,
strategic level or dimension of policy
||Pragmatic discourse or objective
discourse: In this case, the political strategies of action (Handlungsstrategien)
that will be decisive for the regulation of a policy area should be
|3.3 Technical operation, the
operational level or dimension of policy
||Technical discourse or
In this case, the political instruments for action and individual
instructions for action (Handlungsinstrumente) that are decisive
for the regulation of a policy area should be discussed.
Chart 2: Knowledge (Wissen) versus capability (Können)
1. Knowledge (theory)
Scientists, such as political scientists, generate empirical and/or
practical knowledge, natural scientists empirical knowledge, technical
scientists practical knowledge.
Form of knowledge: Analytical knowledge in the form of
Conceptual and logical truths in the form of
Form of knowledge:
Empirical knowledge in the form of natural or social science
propositions and propositional systems, including statements about
standards and rules.
Type of science:
Empirical (theoretical) sciences.
Examples: Natural sciences, empirical social sciences.
Analytical and empirical knowledge is also propositional knowledge, because
both are formulated as truth-apt statement.
Descriptive knowledge in the form of truth-apt descriptions.
Explanatory knowledge in the form of truth-apt explanations.
Predictive knowledge in the form of truth-apt predictions.
Form of knowledge:
Practical knowledge in the form of practical standardizations and
Type of science:
Practical (normative, pragmatic and technical)
Examples: medical sciences, technical sciences, practical social
Practical knowledge consists of three
- Why, or the normative component, consisting of ethical-moral evaluations, in
this case maxims of action (Handlungsmaximen),
- What for, or the pragmatic component, objectives and purposes, in this case
- how, the technical component, means, here action instruments
Normative knowledge in the form of maxims of action (Handlungsmaximen) and
normative-political judgements that are just or unjust.
Pragmatic knowledge in the form of action strategies (Handlungsstrategien)
pragmatic judgments consisting of e.g. different methodical approaches
to cure a disease. Pragmatic rules are wise or unwise.
Technical knowledge in the form of tools for action (Handlungsinstrumente)
and technical judgements, e.g. methods that contain practical technical
rules for curing a disease. Technical rules are effective or ineffective.
2. Capability (Können)
ccitizens, politicians, civil servants, administrators, entrepreneurs can
make political decisions.
Practical competence in implementing empirical and
practical knowledge, to be able to do something, e.g. the ability of the
physician, craftsman, engineer, teacher, manager, politician, scientist
to produce outstanding achievements in his or her field.
consists of dispositions, competencies, skills in doing something. This
is the area covered under the label of implicit,
non-propositional knowledge. This is only one part of expertise
(know-how), that of practical capability. Ryle´s conception of know
how include what I understand under practical capability and
practical knowledge, know that includes analytical and
Chart 3: Knowledge (theory) versus praxis (action)
1. Knowledge (theory):
Sphere of cognition and knowledge
A scientist is always a theorist, no
matter whether he asserts empirical propositions regarding political
reality with an empirical methodology or whether he also legitimize
justice standardizations or regulations using a practical
methodology. In the first case the scientist generates empirical
knowledge, in the second practical knowledge.
There are no applied sciences, but only practical
sciences and scientifically trained practitioners who apply
knowledge, and scientists who generate knowledge.
2. Praxis (action):
Sphere of action
A practitioner (citizen, politician, official, administrator,
entrepreneur) changes (political) reality, whether he refers to
scientifically based empirical and practical knowledge and makes
rational decisions, or makes subjective gut decisions.
Theory and praxis are considered as complementary and not
hierarchical. Equivalence between the two, as is usual in the Bacon
programme, is also rejected.