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Practical Sciences

The fundamental limitations of the concept of applied sciences are highlighted. As an alternative, reference is made to the practical tradition that has existed since antiquity. Empirical (descriptive, explanatory or prognostic) sciences and practical (normative, pragmatic or technical) sciences are complementary.

Most publications about practical sciences are currently available in German only:

In an article I discussed the need for a practical methodology alongside a descriptive and explanatory one. The charts below offer a concise summary of the argument.


 Philosophy of Political Science
 Practical Sciences
 Practical Political Science


 European Union
 Social Security
 Internet/Generative AI


 Focal Points of Research
 Curriculum Vitae

Seitenanfang Chart 1: The Ten Levels of Scientific Methodology
1.1 Philosophical foundations:

Tasks and limits, axiological, epistemic, methodological and ontological assumptions, conditions or criteria as well as ideals and proper-ties of scientific research
1.1.1 Philosophical level (1) A. Tasks and objectives of scientific research
B. Limits of scientific research
C. Axiological, epistemic, methodological and
ontological assumptions of (political) scientific
1.1.2 Knowledge level (2):
general conditions or general (core) criteria of knowledge
General postulates of rationality:
A. Intersubjectivity
B. Objectivity
C. Reliability
D. Validity
1.1.3 Level of ideals and properties (3)
of scientific research
Ideals Properties
A. Truth
B. Rightness (Ethics)
C. Justice (Politics)
D. Phronesis (Pragmatic)
E. Efficacy (Technical)
A. True/False
B. Right/Wrong
C. Just/Unjust
D. Wise/Unwise
E. Effective/Ineffective
1.2 Scientific tools 1.2.1 Concept level  (4) Scientific concepts
1.2.2 Proposition level (5) Scientific proposition (truth-apt propositions, not truth-apt norms, i.e. justice standards, pragmatic or technical rules)
1.2.3 Theory level (6) Scientific theories
1.2.4 Logic level (7) Formal inference and inference rules related to
scientific concepts and scientific sentences
1.2.5 Argumentation level (8) Argumentation inside scientific theories or logical structure of scientific arguments (logic of research)
1.2.6 Methods level (9) Scientific investigation of facts and judgements,
generation and evaluation of facts
1.2.7 Methodical approaches level (10) Scientific generation of theories


Seitenanfang Chart 2: Three Traditions and Ten Levels of Political Methodology
Scientific methodologies and types of science I. Descriptive tradition:
empirical-descriptive methodology (sciences)
II. Explanatory-Prognostic Tradition:
empirical-explanative and empirical-prognostic methodology (sciences)
III. Practical tradition:
practical (normative, pragmatic and technical) methodology (sciences)
1. Axiological and ontological level Descriptions:
description of (visible) phenomena, interpretation of symbols (text, image, audio and video), especially by means of language
Explanations and predictions:
recognition and explanation of invisible causalities using especially
logic and mathematics
world change, Design of the Political Order,
practical (normative, pragmatic and technical) standards (norms) and regulations using logic, language and mathematics
2. Epistemical level Empirical-descriptive
Empirical-explanatory and empirical-predictive knowledge Practical (normative, pragmatic and technical) knowledge
3. Level of ideals and properties


Ideal of truth

Predicates: true or false

Ideal of rightness (ethics): right/wrong
Ideal of justice (politics): just/unjust
Ideal of phronesis (Klugheit): wise/unwise
Ideal of efficacy: effective/ineffective
4. Concept level Qualitative, interpretative
or classificatory concepts

Quantitative, mathematical
or metric concepts
Practical (normative, pragmatic and technical) concepts
5. Proposition level Descriptive propositions 
Explanatory and
predictive propositions
Norms, i.e. justice standards, pragmatic and technical rules
6. Theory level Empirical theories consist of systems of propositions, including propositions about standards and rules. Practical theories consist of regulations, i.e. systems of empirical statements and
practical standards and regulations.
7. Logic level

Formal inference and inference rules related to scientific concepts and scientific sentences
Truth-apt logic:

logic: It is the case, that [...]
Predicate logic: F "is a human".

Modal logic, e.g. alethic modal logic:
It is necessary/impossible/possible/contingent that [...]

Epistemic logic: It is known/is epistemically necessary/is inconsistent that […]

Doxastic logic: It is believed/considered impossible/conceivable that [...]

Tense logic: It was/will be/always will be/always was the case that [...]

Deontic logic (is-ought, Sein-Sollen):
It ought to be/it is forbidden/permitted/indifferent that [...]

Unlike classical logic, these are not truth-apt (Jørgensen's dilemma).

Logic of Norms (act-ought, Tun-Sollen, not is-ought, Sein-Sollen), logic of imperatives, interrogative logic, legal logic, logic of implementation (Durchführungslogik).

Efficacy and rightness, Prima-facie property of ethical norms and political maxims of action.
Conflicts of justice standards and mediation of justice standards.

8. Argumentation level

Argumentation inside scientific theories or logical structure of scientific arguments, logic of scientific research




Analytical, dialectical, empirical, evolutionary
or hermeneutic means of argumentation
Practical  (normative, pragmatic and technical) argumentation
thought of as complementary



Practical, substantive argumentation:
practical syllogism and
pragmatic syllogism

Understanding Explaining
Abductive, inductive,
substantial, warrant-using, tentative, formally invalid, epagogical
Hegelian dialectics,
hermeneutic circle
Deductive, analytical,
conclusive, formally valid argumentation:
model (or HO scheme),
evolutionary explanatory model
Aristotelian topic (dialectics)

9. Methods level
with reference to political science.

Scientific investigation of facts and judgements,
generation and evaluation of facts.

Empirical-descriptive methods
Empirical-explanatory and empirical-predictive methods practical (normative, pragmatic and technical) methods
Qualitative methods:
content analysis,
document analysis,
participatory observation
Quantitative methods:
quantitative data collection,
correlation and
regression analyses
Arguing, discourse,
deliberation, mediation, synopsis,
categorical imperative,
evaluation, implementation planning,
technology assessment (TA)
Triangulation: The application quantitative and qualitative methods on a phenomenon.
10. Methodical
approaches level

with reference to political science

Generation and evaluation of
Approaches with empirical and practical elements
Socio-technological, synoptic, practical-normative, critical-dialectical, empirical-normative, argumentative and pragmatic approach, rational choice approach, advocacy coalition approach, governance approaches, actor-centered approaches (decision arenas, networks, exchange and negotiation systems, regimes)
Empirical approaches Practical approaches
Historical, institutional
and structuralist approach,
narratives, frames, discourses
functional and
quantitative approach
Participatory policy approach,
decisionist, synoptic,
normative, pragmatic and
technical approach

Philosophy of Political Science Practical Sciences Practical Political Science European Union

Social Security Internet/Generative AI Research focuses Publications Curriculum Vitae

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