Talk:Reflexivity (social theory)

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Analogy to the uncertainty principle[edit]

This article says:

"Reflexivity is, therefore, a methodological issue in the social sciences analogous to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in Quantum Mechanics."

The observer effect article says:

"The Heisenberg uncertainty principle is frequently, but incorrectly, confused with the "observer effect", as it relates precision in measurements related to to changes in velocity and position of certain particles relative to the perspective the observer takes on them."

I believe reflexivity is analogous to the observer effect, not to the uncertainty principle. 14:49, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

- Fair enough. But it is analogous to what people usually think of as the critical distinction between classical and quantum mechanics, and associate with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle - the notion that the observer is inherently part of the system. I think that the way it is makes the necessary point best, even though it might be technically incorrect to QM purists. I was certainly taught the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in such a restrictive fashion when I studied QM - the fact that making an observation affected the system was always a central aspect to the point. If you feel strongly about it though, change it to refer to the observer effect in the article. The main point is to connect it with the fundamental difference between classical mechanics and QM - that the observer is not independent of the experiment, and observations may affect the system being observed. LMackinnon 13:20, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
How about you this article just drops the analogy altogether? Ewlyahoocom 13:26, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
The Uncertainty Principle as an analogy for reflexivity (as popularised by George Soros) is patently false and misleading, and betrays a profound lack of understanding of quantum physics. The uncertainty principle is not some kind of mechanical consequence of observation that affects the observed particle's momentum - quantum mechanics goes much, much deeper than this and is profoundly counter-intuitive. The observer effect is a far more correct analogy. Another possible analogy would be Godel's Incompleteness Theorem - while by no means a close analogy, at least (unlike quantum mechanics) Godel's Theorem has recursive characteristics Dorado 06:25, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
It is not true that Soros promoted the analogy with the Uncertainty principle at all - on the contrary he debunks the notion: "... That principle is entirely different from the uncertainty principle in human affairs. Heisenberg's principle governs the behavior of quantum particles whether it is recognised or not. By contrast the behavior of thinking participants may be affected by what others think about them." (Age of Fallibility, p 32). DaveApter (talk) 11:40, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Rewrite of first sections needed.[edit]

The opening paragraph is about grammer not social theory. It needs to be deleted and an approp intro based on the stuff after the first heading. Alan Liefting 05:20, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

It looks to me as thought this has been done now? Is there any problem with the intro as it exists now? DaveApter (talk) 11:17, 9 November 2008 (UTC)


The social theory part of this article should mention Hegel somewhere, since he came up with the idea.--WadeMcR 17:41, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Correct reference for the following text needed: The principle of reflexivity was perhaps first enunciated by the sociologist William Thomas (1923, 1928) as the Thomas theorem: that 'the situations that men define as true, become true for them.'

It is not stated in the 1923 text (as far as I could find) so if it is in the 1928 book it should be cited as Thomas and Thomas - with Dorothy Thomas getting her due credit (unless someone has evidence to the contrary?). Andy Wilson — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:04, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

Refimprove tag[edit]

I am removing the Refimprove tag dated Otober 2009. I don't know how many citations there were then, but it now has 14 plus a similar number of suggested reading items, and seems to me to be well supported. DaveApter (talk) 10:38, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

Merge tag?[edit]

I see that someone has added a Merge tag suggesting that the economics section of the article be moved to the George Soros article. Surely it is an appropriate and important aspect of this subject which definitely has a place in this article, as well as in the Soros article? DaveApter (talk) 18:20, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

As no-one has disputed this point, and the tag has had no supporting comments since it was inserted several months ago, I have removed it. DaveApter (talk) 18:27, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Social espistemology[edit]

Clearly, the domain of study could be usefully described as social epistemology; I've made a bold leap in framing one as part of the other, when perhaps they are opposing theories instead:

When one looks at the list of people involved, one has a desire to rename this page reflexivity (social epistemology), a field which certainly sounds like the epistemology of social systems. But often these names are co-opted early by some narrow, ideological movement and become unavailable to the obvious, broader meaning.

If this leap of mine is wrong, I think it ought to be far more clearly spelled out than the version I first encountered (not helpful) without much specific background, so please rework rather than revert. — MaxEnt 19:33, 18 October 2017 (UTC)