Operationalism is a Means of Falsification

 [A] criticism from Bruce, on my failure to make clear that Operationalism is a means of conducting a test of falsification.

–“This monotheistic passion for reduction to operations seems to lead to cul-de-sacs.”— Bruce Caithness


1) Operationalism is an attempt at falsification. Just as in math, if we can construct a statement through operations then it is existentially possible. Just as in economics, if we can reduce an economic statement to a sequence of rationally executable decisions. Just as in science, if we can reduce a test to a repeatable sequence of operations, and if we can reduce our measures to those that are possible then the test is existentially possible, assuming determinism in the universe and therefore the constancy of that which we measure (without which no science ,and no theory, can be possible).

If I conduct tests of identity, internal consistency, external correspondence, repeatability, full accounting, parsimony (limits), existential possibility, objective morality (voluntary transfer), then I have laundered imaginary content from my statements. This is what science consists in: identifying existential information and eliminating imaginary information.

If I have performed the due diligence to launder by speech of imaginary information, then I speak as truthfully as is possible. I may indeed speak the most parsimonious testimony possible (the truth) or I may not – a matter of error at one end of the possibilities, or of imprecision at the other end.

I can warranty that I have performed that due diligence by stating that I speak truthfully: I give testimony in public, as to the truthfulness of my speech.


2) One can speak truthfully, and warranty that one speaks truthfully. If one speaks in e-prime (specifying means of existence), and in operational definitions (rather than experiences), it is extremely difficult to articulate an idea that still contains imaginary content.


3) Rather than “leading to cul-de-sac’s” I suspect that this is the completion (or repair) of the critical rationalist research program and the most important invention in philosophy since the failure of that program.

Just is what it is. I just did a good yeoman’s labor. But between explanatory power, and parsimony it’s a pretty powerful theoretical structure, and it’s pretty hard to defeat it.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev, Ukraine

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