Chris Lorenz's idea of conceptual inversion

Published: May 27, 2013
Chris Lorenz conceptual inversion narrativism
Ewa Domanska
The text deals with Chris Lorenz’s idea of conceptual inversion, understood as an epistemological blockade that stands as a barrier to the development of a proper theory of humanities and social sciences. According to Lorenz, the methodological and theoretical views of scientific programmes embody negations (i.e. inversions) of the views being criticized by them. Because of this process of “turning upside down”, many of the conceptual problems connected with the criticized positions survive. The author asks two questions: first, about the relation between Lorenz’s idea of conceptual inversion and Imre Lakatos’ idea of reconfigurations of research programmes, and, second, about possible common ground on which Lorenz’s interest in empiricism emerging out of his criticism of narrativism, and Ewa Domanska’s interest in new empiricism related to posthumanism (also critical of textual constructivism), could meet.
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Chris Lorenz, "Won’t You Tell me Where Have all the Good Times Gone?: On the Advantages and Disadvantages of Modernization Theory for History, Rethinking History, 10, no. 2 (2006): 171-200

Imre Lakatos, The Methodology of the Scientific Research Programmes, eds. J. Worrall and G. Currie, Philosophical Papers, vol. 1. (Cambridge: University Press 1978).

Chris Lorenz, “Can Histories be True? Narrativism, Positivism and the “Metaphorical turn”, History and Theory, 37 no. 3 (1998): 309-329.

N. Gane, “Concepts and the ‘New’ Empiricism,” European Journal of Social Theory, 12, no. 1 (2009): 83-97;

D. Coole, S. Frost, eds. New Materialisms. Ontology, Agency, and Politics (Durham/London: Duke University Press 2010).
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