Philosophy of Social Science


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What kind of academic inquiry can best help humanity make progress towards as good a world as possible?  Why are philosophers apparently so uninterested in this question?  Is it because most believe the kind of academic inquiry we have today, devoted primarily to the pursuit of knoweldge and technological know-how, is the best that we can have, judged from the perspective of helping humanity make progress towards a better world?  Why are philosophers apparently so uninterested in arguments which seem to show decisively that inquiry restricted to the pursuit of knowledge is both profoundly irrational, and a menace?  The successful pursuit of knowledge and technological know-how, dissociated from a more fundamental concern to help humanity resolve conflicts and problems of living in increasingly cooperatively rational ways, is almost bound to lead to trouble.  Scientific knowledge and technological know-how enormously increase our power to act - for some of us at ... (read more)
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TL;DR: Does anyone know of a resource where I can gain an understanding of what the current debates in the philosophy of social science are?


I am a soon-to-be PhD student at Notre Dame in Western Australia.
My intended area of research is Marx's dialectical method. I am very interested in what has been described as Marx's critique of 'immediacy' in mainstream social science. Immediacy is when a particular study or social scientific theory takes empirical data at face value, and does not investigate whether or not that data has been distorted by previously-constructed systems of reasoning and thought. Perhaps even more simply, ideology (here meant in its technical Marxian sense) distorts the interpretation of empirical data.

I was wondering whether anyone knew of a resource where I might be able to find out what the current debates or issues in the philosophy of social science are, so I might be able to link this interest with a current debate that is going on, so my early syno ... (read more)
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Many of you would have been aware of the increasing use of randomised evaluations in Social Science research and for public policy reasons. Taking an epistemological look, I give a robust argument on why the claims of randomised evaluations actually evade the problem of induction. Hope to get your thoughts. Thanks in advance !

1. Introduction

The usage of randomised evaluations in social inquiry has been recent and responses to them have been wide ranging. Some have described it as the “gold standard” in empirical research, (Duflo, Glennerster,&Kremer, 2006) while others though have been more critical of their value in making predictions. (Deaton, 2009)

Randomised evaluations[1] (REs) seek to make predictions on the impact of an intervention, when it is attempted in a new situation. REs work by first determining the impact of the intervention. Subsequently, for the new situation it is expected that the impact would be similar.

To determine an intervention’s impact, numerous subjects are ... (read more)

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Just wondering if the irony of an article about the high quality of open science research being situated behind a pay wall was lost on anybody...

It seems that matters of cultural typology (shame-guilt, individualism-collectivism, honor-dignity, etc.) might go in the "philosophy of Social Science" category but I don't see where it might fit. I am going to be putting out a few articles on the topic when a current project completes and would like to have them placed here. Perhaps some might feel this is less a matter of philosophy and more a matter of sociology per se. I would appreciate any thoughts on this, as well as any resources regarding the honor-dignity typology that is just now coming into vogue via cross-over between anthro-, socio-, and legal theory. Thanks much.

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