Critical rationalism and social evolution as a learning process
Using my general theory of critical rationalism, I suggest that we observe what occurs during social change in order to address social evolution. The actors apply reason to criticize the premises or inference forms of their worldviews regarding the universe and the good life shown to be false. Critical reason guides actors in correcting these worldviews that form the normative foundations of society. Thus, social change through metaphysical and moral learning is the basis for the actors’ correction of their conjectures regarding the good life and the development of a more reliable concept of the universe and man's place in it. As Habermas argues, the need for reforming worldviews originates in evolutionary challenges that society masters in the effort to improve its performance in realizing the good life.
Moreover, the transition from an established social order to a more progressive one through critical thinking also leads the actors to correct the systems of human rights, political governance and recourse allocation. Put differently, actors who apply new theories of the universe and the good life also benefit from a more substantial system of human rights to a decent life. From a legal perspective, the new system of the equal rights does not suffer from the mistakes of the former legal system and can thus better realize the moral ideal of equal rights to the good life.
Now the actors are capable of enhancing their model of the legitimate usage of power based on their new reading of human rights. Since the previous model of political governance may have rested on an unsound concept of human rights, the new form of governance uses altered institutions of law to give all the citizens a new role in self-determination of their governance. As people’s participation in self-governance improves through learning from mistaken premises or inferences, the capacity of the political order for enforcing just law in society also evolves.
As for the economy, the evolution in society takes place due to the actors' realization that they should change the mistaken assumptions in their accounts of the good life and define their preference patterns according to more reliable moral premises. In addition, realizing that their prior readings of human rights and political legitimacy are no longer tenable due to their false premises or inferences, the actors have to revise their production plans. Hence, economic actors can reform the law of supply and demand governing the economic order of society in order to develop a more effective mobilization of scarce resource for the production of diverse goods and sendees to meet the needs of the good life in a better way.
In sum, critical rationalist sociology leads to realization of how human actors use critical reason to correct the mistaken premises or inferences upon which common values and social institutions are shaped. Critical reason leads to the discovery of alternative views of the universe and of a decent life for giving themselves new systems of human rights, political governance and economic order. The societal transition from one social order to an alternative one indicates a rationalization of social order towards a higher level of justice and efficiency that only non-justificationist theories of knowledge and rationality can elucidate. In brief, the concept of rationality as 'unfalsified belief' enables the philosophy of critical rationalism to provide a theory of society for modelling the evolution of human society.