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Paper Information

Journal:   PAZHOHESH-HA-YE BASTANSHENASI IRAN   summer 2018 , Volume 8 , Number 17 ; Page(s) 7 To 26.

Sophisticated Falsificationism; A Solution to Issue from the Epistemological Problems in Archaeology

In the present article, we have discussed the objections of critics raised by post-processualists from processual school and mentioned this point that their alternative, borrowing its basic ideas from the social sciences which have different theoretical nature, caused the present chaotic situation in the theoretical fields of archaeology. In spite of mentioning the problems of positively attitude of Processual Archaeology, it is argued that one by one refusal of this attitude’ s ideas and acceptance of Post-Processual is not good solution. Post-processualist archaeology is seeking to change the archaeological research as a scientific practice to any type of a literature, story-telling with high-level potentiality of individual interpretation that one of its samples is shown at extremist culturalism of phenomenological viewpoint to the landscape archaeology. Archaeologists have access to neither the concepts behind the objects nor the mental values and social structures of the individuals created by them. To set our goals, the precondition is to recognize limitations. According to adopt normative and ideally principles, Post-processualists choose an ideological (anti-realistic) approach to study cultures and due to self-contradictory expression of this meta-induction that all scientific theories are individual and wrong, refuse the science as a reliable foundation for researches. It’ s amazing that their alternative is a severely value-laden approach that is derived from human sciences along with biased interpretations and in this way, they are under an only obligation of contemporaneous ethical principles. The important problem of these notions is that they have no concern about the concept of progress in our knowledge of the past and they have nothing to do with new knowledge. Therefore, in the second part, it has been tried to design a new theoretical background beyond the positively difficulties of the processual approach that guarantees the progress towards the better interpretation of archaeological data. Based on the Popper’ s account of science in philosophy of science, we took a compatible version of sophisticated falsificationism which suggested a new theoretical foundation with cohesive epistemological and methodological territories for Archaeology. According to this account of science, each new theory should be as a challenge for the earlier one by showing its flaws, trying to dismiss it, and at the same time having the ability to reach to its achievements. This new approach with adopting the principles of bold and novel hypotheses and predictions, testable and falsifiable propositions, deductive logics, clearly stated and precise theories and rejecting the ad hoc modifications in them have a high capability of providing an excellent framework for archaeologists. This statement is just practical and compatible with the scientific approach of this discipline and its limitation to the material world. Archaeological finds have some typical specifications like materiality, partiality, and being static. Consequently, the methods of extraction should be matchable to them. Given that the nature of archaeological materials is adaptable to the methodology which has been used later by processualists, but according to the suggested epistemology these methods would be used in a non-positivistic setting, and in the direction of falsifying the new theories. As a result, the schemes of researches can practically be shaped away from post-modern relativism and positivistic absolutism. Furthermore, this standpoint does not assume theories as the eternal laws of absolute single truth as positivistic approach does. Rather by considering the inventory character of the hypotheses against the background knowledge of its time, it attaches the significance of the confirmation broadly to the historical setting of the theories. Therefore, it presents a plural and far more moderate insight of science with a huge concern for the concept of progress in knowledge.
Keyword(s): Epistemology,Processualism,Post-Processualism,Positivism,Popper,Sophisticated Falsification
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