Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Posts Tagged ‘three worlds’

Validation of Theory: Exploring and Reframing Popper’s Worlds

Steven E. Wallis

Abstract: Popper’s well-known arguments describe the need for advancing social theory through a process of falsification. Despite Popper’s call, there has been little change in the academic process of theory development and testing. This paper builds on Popper’s lesser-known idea of “three worlds” (physical, emotional/conceptual, and theoretical) to investigate the relationship between knowledge, theory, and action. In this paper, I explore his three worlds to identify alternative routes to support the validation of theory. I suggest there are alternative methods for validation, both between, and within, the three worlds and that a combination of validation and falsification methods may be superior to any one method. Integral thinking is also put forward to support the validation process. Rather than repeating the call for full Popperian falsification, this paper recognizes that the current level of social theorizing provides little opportunity for such falsification. Rather than sidestepping the goal of Popperian falsification, the paths suggested here may be seen as providing both validation and falsification as stepping-stones toward the goal of more effective social and organizational theory.

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