Methodolatry, Mathematization, Apotheosis of the Instrument

A few sober and cautionary observations on the misuses or uncritical use of methods. The term methodolatry was coined, apparently, by psychologist Gordon Allport:
There is methodolatry, or the love of gadgetry: the tendency to take more satisfaction in methods than in the results. Also there is the repose, the respite from hard thought and hairy decisions, that a smooth algorithm can bring. In these ways one may be lured into problems that lend themselves to favorable techniques, though they not be the problems most central to one’s concerns. The rise of the computer aggravates this danger. (Quine, (1981) Theories and Things, 153 f.)
[...] as methods and techniques get more complicated, the role of theory in research is being dangerously ignored in favor of purely empirical work that proceeds without so much as a hypothesis. Like Pirandello’s characters in search of an author, many of today’s researchers seem to have an assortment of techniques in search of a substantive problem. (Einhorn, (1972), Alchemy in the Behavioral Sciences. The Public Opinion Quarterly, 36 (3), 367–378)
Quine goes on to indicate that:
"Induction, primitively, was a mere matter of expecting that events that are similar by our lights will have sequels that are similar to one another. The larger the class of mutually similar antecedent events may be, all of which have had mutually similar sequels, the stronger is the presumption of a similar sequel the next time around. But the presumption is increased overwhelmingly  if variations among the antecedent events can be correlated with variations in the sequels. For this purpose  measurement is brought to bear. Measurement is devised for some varying feature of the otherwise similar antecedent ... and also for some varying feature of the otherwise similar sequels, and a constant ratio or some other simple correlation is established between the two variations. Once this is achieved, a causal connection can no longer be doubted. Because of the power of these methods, and ultimately the predictive power of concomitant sciences clamor to be quantitative; they clamor for something to measure. This is both good and bad. It is very good indeed if the measurable quantity can be found to play a significant role in the subject matter of the science in question. It is bad if in the quest for something to measure the scientist turns his back on the original concerns of his science and is borne away, however smoothly, on a tangent of trivialities. Ills of mathematization, as well as successes, can be laid to the quest of quantitativity." Quine, 152-153
Quite on a different plane, there's also the mathematization of history. In this last regard I find interesting the observations of the philosopher J. A. Leighton in 1938:
History is a unique field of data for the philosopher. The  processes of history are the processes of history. They cannot be  reduced to any mathematized or logicized metaphysic, based on physical science. The principles for historical interpretation must be found in the interest-seeking, value-striving, unique nature of man.... As such he lives in and by a system of socialized interests and values. The specificity of human history forbids its being stretched out on any Procrustean bed of merely physical or physico-biological cosmological categories...(order to attempt to explain spiritual powers in terms of a desiccated mathematized technology. It is a case of apotheosis of the instrument). Granting that physical determination plays a large role in the shaping of cultures, and man's animal inheritance a larger role, it remains true that such categories as "struggle for existence" and even "adaptation to environment" do not take us far in the interpretation of cultures, and become misleading and distorting concepts when carried out in a doctrinaire fashion.
J. A. Leighton (1938) History as the Struggle for Social Values. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, Vol. 12, pp. 118-154

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