Bringing together some of the most eminent thinkers in the field, this book celebrates the seminal contribution of Ted Benton to such pressing themes as: realism, naturalism and the philosophy of the social sciences, the continuing relevance of Marxism, philosophical anthropology and human needs, and ecology, society and natural limits.
Concept of African social and political philosophy -- Faces of African freedom -- African socialism and Nyerere -- African personality : a social portrait -- Negritude : a philosophy of social action -- African tribalism : social and political implications -- Apartheid and African social experience -- The African and neo-colonial predicament -- Social self in African philosophy -- Crisis of common good and political instability -- Pan-Africanism as a concept and (...)socialphilosophy -- African philosophy and social reconstruction. (shrink)
This textbook by Martin Hollis offers an exceptionally clear and concise introduction to the philosophy of social science. It examines questions which give rise to fundamental philosophical issues. Are social structures better conceived of as systems of laws and forces, or as webs of meanings and practices? Is social action better viewed as rational behaviour, or as self-expression? By exploring such questions, the reader is led to reflect upon the nature of scientific method in social (...) science. Is the aim to explain the social world after a manner worked out for the natural world, or to understand the social world from within? (shrink)
This accessible and user-friendly text will prove invaluable to any student coming to social and political philosophy for the first time. It provides a broad survey of fundamental social and political questions in modern society, as well as clear, accessible discussions of the philosophical issues central to political thought. Topics covered include: the foundations of political authority, the nature and grounds of economic justice, the limits of tolerance, considerations of community, race, gender, and culture in questions of (...) justice, and radical critiques of current political theories. (shrink)
Realism in Action is a selection of essays written by leading representatives in the fields of action theory and philosophy of mind, philosophy of the social sciences and especially the nature of social action, and of epistemology and philosophy of science. Practical reason, reasons and causes in action theory, intending and trying, and folk-psychological explanation are some of the topics discussed by these leading participants. A particular emphasis is laid on trust, commitments and social (...) institutions, on the possibility of grounding social notions in individual social attitudes, on the nature of social groups, institutions and collective intentionality, and on common belief and common knowledge. Applications to the social sciences include, e.g., a look at the Erklären-Verstehen controversy in economics, and at constructivist and realist views on archeological reconstructions of the past. (shrink)
This book examines what is living and what is dead in the socialphilosophy of Theodor W. Adorno, the most important philosopher and social critic in Germany after World War II. When he died in 1969, Adorno's successors abandoned his critical-utopian passions. Habermas, in particular, rejected or ignored Adorno's central insights on the negative effects of capitalism and new technologies upon nature and human life. In this book, Lambert Zuidervaart reclaims Adorno's insights from Habermasian neglect, while taking (...) up legitimate Habermasian criticisms. He also addresses the prospects for radical and democratic transformations of an increasingly globalized world. The book proposes a provocative socialphilosophy after Adorno.. (shrink)
This volume is devoted to Lewis's work in ethics and socialphilosophy. Topics covered include the logic of obligation and permission; decision theory and its relation to the idea that beliefs might play the motivating role of desires; a subjectivist analysis of value; dilemmas in virtue ethics; the problem of evil; problems about self-prediction; social coordination, linguistic and otherwise; alleged duties to rescue distant strangers; toleration as a tacit treaty; nuclear warfare; and punishment. This collection, and the (...) two preceding volumes, will disseminate more widely the work of an eminent and influential contemporary philosopher. (shrink)
This introduction to the philosophy of social science provides an original conception of the task and nature of social inquiry. Peter Manicas discusses the role of causality seen in the physical sciences and offers a reassessment of the problem of explanation from a realist perspective. He argues that the fundamental goal of theory in both the natural and social sciences is not, contrary to widespread opinion, prediction and control, or the explanation of events (including behaviour). Instead, (...) theory aims to provide an understanding of the processes which, together, produce the contingent outcomes of experience. Offering a host of concrete illustrations and examples of critical ideas and issues, this accessible book will be of interest to students of the philosophy of social science, and social scientists from a range of disciplines. (shrink)
Qualitative Complexity offers a critique of the humanist paradigm in contemporary social theory. Drawing from sources in sociology, philosophy, complexity theory, 'fuzzy logic', systems theory, cognitive science and evolutionary biology, the authors present a new series of interdisciplinary perspectives on the sociology of complex, self-organizing structures.
The problems dealt with in The Idea of a Social Science are philosophical. It is an attempt to place the social science, considered as a single group, on the intellectual map, with special attention to the relations of the discipline to philosophy on the one hand and the natural sciences on the other. The author holds that the relation between the social sciences and philosophy is commonly misunderstood because of certain fashionable misconceptions about the nature (...) of philosophy, and because of an incorrect assessment of the significance of some of Wittgenstein's contributions. He discusses the influence of the natural sciences on our conception of the social sciences and examines some of the most influential ideas of J.S. Mill, Pareto and Max Weber. (shrink)
The authors examine the nature of the relationship between social science and philosophy and address the sort of work social science should do, and the role and sorts of claims that an accompanying philosophy should engage in. In particular, the authors reintroduce the question of ontology, an area long overlooked by philosophers of social science, and present a cricital engagement with the work of Roy Bhaskar. The book argues against the excesses of philosophising and commits (...) itself to a philosophical approach more deeply grounded in the social sciences. (shrink)
The most pressing problems facing humanity today - over-population, energy shortages, climate change, soil erosion, species extinctions, the risk of epidemic disease, the threat of warfare that could destroy all the hard-won gains of civilization, and even the recent fibrillations of the stock market - are all ecological or have a large ecological component. in this volume philosophers turn their attention to understanding the science of ecology and its huge implications for the human project. To get the application of (...)ecology to policy or other practical concerns right, humanity needs a clear and disinterested philosophical understanding of ecology which can help identify the practical lessons of science. Conversely, the urgent practical demands humanity faces today cannot help but direct scientific and philosophical investigation toward the basis of those ecological challenges that threaten human survival. This book will help to fuel the timely renaissance of interest in philosophy of ecology that is now occurring in the philosophical profession. Provides a bridge between philosophy and current scientific findings Covers theory and applications Encourages multi-disciplinary dialogue. (shrink)
Professor Little presents an introduction to the philosophy of social science with an emphasis on the central forms of explanation in social science: rational-intentional, causal, functional, structural, materialist, statistical and interpretive. The book is very strong on recent developments, particularly in its treatment of rational choice theory, microfoundations for social explanation, the idea of supervenience, functionalism, and current discussions of relativism.Of special interest is Professor Little’s insight that, like the philosophy of natural science, the (...) class='Hi'>philosophy of social science can profit from examining actual scientific examples. Throughout the book, philosophical theory is integrated with recent empirical work on both agrarian and industrial society drawn from political science, sociology, geography, anthropology, and economics.Clearly written and well structured, this text provides the logical and conceptual tools necessary for dealing with the debates at the cutting edge of contemporary philosophy of social science. It will prove indispensible for philosophers, social scientists and their students. (shrink)
This volume is a unique contribution to the philosophy of the social sciences, presenting the results of cutting-edge philosophers' research alongside critical discussions by practicing social scientists. The book is motivated by the view that the philosophy of the social sciences cannot ignore the specific scientific practices according to which social scientific work is being conducted, and that it will be valuable only if it evolves in constant interaction with theoretical developments in the (...) class='Hi'>social sciences. With its unique format guaranteeing a genuine discussion between philosophers and social scientists, this thought-provoking volume extends the frontiers of the field. It will appeal to all scholars and students interested in the interplay between philosophy and the social sciences. (shrink)
This is an expanded and thoroughly revised edition of the widely adopted introduction to the philosophical foundations of the human sciences. Ranging from cultural anthropology to mathematical economics, Alexander Rosenberg leads the reader through behaviorism, naturalism, interpretativism about human action, and macrosocial scientific perspectives, illuminating the motivation and strategy of each.Rewritten throughout to increase accessibility, this new edition retains the remarkable achievement of revealing the social sciences’ enduring relation to the fundamental problems of philosophy. It includes new discussions (...) of positivism, European philosophy of history, causation, statistical laws, quantitative models, and postempiricist social science, along with a completely updated literature guide that keys chapters to widely anthologized papers. (shrink)
This is a comprehensive and authoritative reference collection in the philosophy and methodology of the social sciences. The source materials selected are drawn from debates within the natural sciences as well as social scientific practice. This four volume set covers the traditional literature on the philosophy of the social sciences, and the contemporary philosophical and methodological debates developing at the heart of the disciplinary and interdisciplinary groups in the social sciences. It addresses the needs (...) of researchers and academics who are grappling with the relationship between questions of knowledge construction and the problems of social scientific method. (shrink)
Critical Heuristics of Social Planning has been recognised as the seminal work on critical systems thinking. Ulrich offers a new approach both to practical philosophy (which has until now remained rather unpractical) and to systems thinking (which has reduced the systems idea to a tool of merely instrumental, rather than practical, reason). Critical systems heuristics (CSH), as the approach is now generally called, provides planners, practitioners and policy makers with a conceptual tool for practising practical reason. It will (...) enable them to identify and discuss systematically the value implications of policies, plans, problem definitions, or program evaluations. In addition, the book offers the most thorough-going introduction available today to the espistemological foundations of critical systems thinking, including a practicable model of cogent argumentation on disputed value implications of designs. A must for practitioners and scholars who are interested in a self-critical and practicable understanding of the widespread call for holistic or systems thinking! "Critical Heuristics will be recognised as a very important book in the emerging systems discipline and will hold a significant position for many years to come". Peter B. Checkland, University of Lancaster, England. "An outstanding contribution to an adequate philosophical and heuristic framework for critical social inquiry and design". C. West Churchman, University of California, Berkeley, USA. "The book fills a major gap in the literature on the systems tradition". Michael C. Jackson, University of Hull, England. "Drawing on a profound knowledge of both Anglo-American systems theory and German practical philosophy, this book belongs to the best studies I have seen on the normative foundations of planning and systems design." Horst Steinmann, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. "Mandatory for libraries in the field of planning". John Friedmann, University of California, Los Angeles, USA. (shrink)
The widespread impression that recent philosophy of science has pioneered exploration of the “social dimensions of scientific knowledge‘ is shown to be in error, partly due to a lack of appreciation of historical precedent, and partly due to a misunderstanding of how the social sciences and philosophy have been intertwined over the last century. This paper argues that the referents of “democracy‘ are an important key in the American context, and that orthodoxies in the philosophy (...) of science tend to be molded by the actual regimes of science organization within which they are embedded. These theses are illustrated by consideration of three representative philosophers of science: John Dewey, Hans Reichenbach, and Philip Kitcher. [Copyright &y& Elsevier]. (shrink)
Social and Political Philosophy introduces some of the most important topics in contemporary political philosophy and asks if they can be accommodated within the framework of liberal theory. It consists of specially written essays by prominent figures on an array of basic issues in political and socialphilosophy. Each essay then carefully considers both the theoretical and practical problems of a major topic. The book concludes with an attempt to respond to and reconcile a number (...) of the arguments presented in the essays. (shrink)
This book is concerned with the role of economic philosophy ("ideas") in the processes of belief-formation and social change. Its aim is to further our understanding of the behavior of the individual economic agent by bringing to light and examining the function of non-rational dispositions and motivations ("passions") in the determination of the agent's beliefs and goals. Drawing on the work of David Hume and Adam Smith, the book spells out the particular ways in which the passions come (...) to affect our ordinary understanding and conduct in practical affairs and the intergenerational and interpersonal transmission of ideas through language. Concern with these problems, it is argued, lies at the heart of an important tradition in the British moral philosophy. This emphasis on the non-rational nature of our belief-fixation mechanisms has important implications: it helps to clarify and qualify the misleading claims often made by utilitarian, Marxist, Keynesian, and neo-liberal economic philosophers, all of whom stress the overriding power of ideas to shape conduct, policy, and institutions. (shrink)
As one of the leading figures of the idealist movement, Bernard Bosanquet (1848-1923) made major contributions to philosophy and had a significant role in the formation of British social policy. This set contains previously uncollected articles and essays that were first published in little known journals or magazines. Each volume includes new introductions and primary and secondary bibliographies.
Cornel West's reputation as a public and celebrity intellectual has overshadowed his important contributions to philosophy. Professor Clarence Shole Johnson provides a rectification of this situation in this benchmark, thought-provoking book. After a brief biographical sketch, Johnson leads us through a comprehensive examination of West's philosophy from his conceptions of pragmatism, existentialism, Marxism, and Prophetic Christianity to his persuasive writings on black-Jewish relations, affirmative action, and the role of black intellectuals. Special focus is given to West's writings on (...) ethics and social justice, and how these inform his entire theoretical framework. Cornel West and Philosophy is a unique and indispensable guide to West's diverse philosophical writings. (shrink)
This article begins with clarification of the notion of progress. The author believes that it is possible to consider progress objectively, if by progress we understand a positive change in the effectiveness of something. He mentions two types of progress: progress of improvement and progress of augmentation. He then distinguishes evaluative from reflective philosophy. Evaluative philosophy gives answers to the second and third of Kant's famous three questions; reflective philosophy answers the first, dealing with the limits of (...) human knowledge. Progress in evaluative philosophy takes the form of augmentation. But in reflective philosophy it could take the form of improvement. The author believes, however, that it is not an easy task to improve contemporary socialphilosophy. Three main obstacles are: the “anthropological turn” in philosophy, the challenge of postmodernism, and the turning of socialphilosophy into a kind of useful knowledge. (shrink)
Continental Philosophy of Social Science demonstrates the unique and autonomous nature of the continental approach to social science and contrasts it with the Anglo-American tradition. Yvonne Sherratt argues for the importance of an historical understanding of the Continental tradition in order to appreciate its individual, humanist character. Examining the key traditions of hermeneutic, genealogy, and critical theory, and the texts of major thinkers such as Gadamer, Ricoeur, Derrida, Nietzsche, Foucault, the Early Frankfurt School and Habermas, she also (...) contextualizes contemporary developments within strands of thought stemming back to Ancient Greece and Rome. Sherratt shows how these modes of thinking developed through medieval Christian thought into the Enlightenment and Romantic eras, before becoming mainstays of twentieth-century disciplines. Continental Philosophy of Social Science will serve as the essential textbook for courses in philosophy or social sciences. (shrink)
Ambitiously identifying fresh issues in the study of complex systems, Peter J. Taylor, in a model of interdisciplinary exploration, makes these concerns accessible to scholars in the fields of ecology, environmental science, and science studies. Unruly Complexity explores concepts used to deal with complexity in three realms: ecology and socio-environmental change; the collective constitution of knowledge; and the interpretations of science as they influence subsequent research. For each realm Taylor shows that unruly complexity-situations that lack definite boundaries, (...) where what goes on "outside" continually restructures what is "inside," and where diverse processes come together to produce change-should not be suppressed by partitioning complexity into well-bounded systems that can be studied or managed from an outside vantage point. Using case studies from Australia, North America, and Africa, he encourages readers to be troubled by conventional boundaries-especially between science and the interpretation of science-and to reflect more self-consciously on the conceptual and practical choices researchers make. (shrink)
Presents a provocatively anthropocentric analysis of the way forward for green politics and environmental movements, exposing the deficiencies and contradictions of green approaches to post-modern politics and deep ecology. This title available in eBook format. Click here for more information . Visit our eBookstore at: www.ebookstore.tandf.co.uk.
Did Adam and Eve act rationally in eating the fruit of the forbidden tree? That can seem to depend solely on whether they had found the best means to their ends, in the spirit of the 'economic' theories of rationality. Martin Hollis respects the elegance and power of these theories but judges their paradoxes endemic. He argues that social action cannot be understood by viewing human beings as abstract individuals with preferences in search of satisfaction, nor by divorcing practical (...) reason from questions of the rationality of norms, principles, practices and ends. These essays, focused on the themes of 'rational choice', 'roles and reasons' and 'other cultures, other minds', make the point and explore alternative approaches. Culled in revised form from twenty-five years' work, the essays range across periods and disciplines with a philosophical imagination and vivid prose, which will engage philosophers and social scientists alike. (shrink)
This is the first book in the new series, is a comprehensive introduction to philosophical problems in the social sciences, encompassing traditional and contemporary perspectives. It is readily accessible, with a firm emphasis on communicating difficult philosophical ideas clearly and effectively to those from outside this discipline. Ted Benton and Ian Craib move systematically through major topic areas, from positivism to post-structuralism, using a wide variety of examples and cases to illustrate key themes.
This article examines two empirical research traditions—experimental economics and the social identity approach in social psychology—that may be seen as attempts to falsify and verify the theory of collective intentionality, respectively. The article argues that both approaches fail to settle the issue. However, this is not necessarily due to the alleged immaturity of the social sciences but, possibly, to the philosophical nature of intentionality and intentional action. The article shows how broadly Davidsonian action theory, including Hacking’s notion (...) of the looping effect of the human sciences, can be developed into an argument for the view that there is no theory-independent true nature of intentional action. If the Davidsonian line of thought is correct, the theory of collective intentionality is, in a sense, true if we accept the theory. Key Words: collective intentionality • experimental economics • social identity theory • Donald Davidson • Ian Hacking • constructivism • action • agency • philosophy of the social sciences. (shrink)
Social change is a structural transformation of political, social and economic systems and institutions to create a more equitable and just society and it is a universal phenomenon and it occurs in every society. Technically said that social change refers to an alteration in the social order of a social group or society; a change in the nature, social institutions, social behaviours or social relations of a society. As we know Change is (...) inevitable and it takes place in all fields. The term “social change” is often used to describe variations in, or, modifications of any respect of social process, social patterns, social interaction or social organization. Great thinkers emerged from various societies induce social change in different times. (shrink)
The Struggle for Nature outlines and examines the main aspects of current environmental philosophy including deep ecology, social and political ecology, eco-feminism and eco-anarchism. It criticizes the dependency on science of these philosophies and the social problems engendered by them. Jozef Keulartz argues for a post-naturalistic turn in environmental philosophy. The Struggle for Nature presents the most up-to-date arguments in environmental philosophy, which will be valuable reading for anyone interested in applied philosophy, (...) environmental studies or geography. (shrink)
These essays represent the latest research of a number of prominent political theorists. The essays explore the role of government, the nature of public discourse and the obligations of citizens. Some examine the sources of our need for government, asking what form of government we should establish and whether a single form can be suitable for all societies. Some seek to discover the proper aims of government - asking, for example, whether government should promote equality among its citizens or whether (...) it should allow inequalities in the hope of raising everyone's level of well-being. Others explore government's role in ensuring citizens' autonomy and in protecting their rights to pursue their own interests and projects. Still others examine the processes through which policies are formulated and debated, asking what forms of public deliberation are likely to produce the best results. (shrink)
A world in crisis -- Living in a world without God -- The end of an era -- A ripple in a field -- Telling our story -- Ecosense -- The webbed self : deconstructing individualism -- The American enterprise -- Current patterns and future prospects.
The four sections of this article are reactions to a few interconnected problems that Mario Bunge addresses in his The Sociology-Philosophy Connection , which can be seen as a continuation and summary of his two recent major volumes Finding Philosophy in Social Science and Social Science under Debate: A Philosophical Perspective . Bunges contribution to the philosophy of the social sciences has been sufficiently acclaimed. (See in particular two special issues of this journal dedicated (...) to his socialphilosophy: "Systems and Mechanisms. A Symposium on Mario Bunges Philosophy of Social Science," Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34, nos. 2 and 3.) The author discusses therefore only those solutions in Bunges book that seem most problematic, namely, Bunges proposal to expel charlatans from universities; his treatment of social laws; his notions of mechanisms, "mechanismic explanation," and systemism; and his reading of Poppers socialphilosophy. Key Words: theory laws mechanism explanation Popper. (shrink)
The author submits that Popper's socialphilosophy rests on seven pillars: rationality (both conceptual and practical), individualism (ontological and methodological), libertarianism, the nonexistence of historical laws, negative utilitarianism ("Do no harm"), piecemeal social engineering, and a view on social order. The first six pillars are judged to be weak, and the seventh broken. In short, it is argued that Popper did not build a comprehensive, profound, or even consistent system of socialphilosophy on a (...) par with his work in epistemology. Still, he did make some important contributions to the field, such as unveiling the philosophical roots of totalitarianism and defending social engineering against both revolutionists and conservatives. (shrink)
This article calls for a critical re-evaluation of Walzer’s theory of justice. It argues that there is a deep tension between Walzer’s social criticism and his complex equality. Social criticism is based on the normative value of a connected and ‘whole’ self, and complex equality is based upon a value pluralism that threatens to fragment this sense of wholeness. Walzer therefore commissions a tacit premise, borrowing from the same ‘political philosophy’ that he explicitly repudiates, and which (...) class='Hi'>social criticism is intended to supplant. This premise is a Kantian-inspired conception of self; brought to the argument as an a priori premise and thus in violation of Walzer’s own stated commitment to ‘internalism’ and ‘interpretation’. Furthermore, this same conception of self is the moral source of Walzer’s substantive commitment to the universal value of pluralist political regimes. The article closes with a suggested reconciliation of the inherent tension within Walzer’s theory. (shrink)
It is well known that Ernest Gellner made substantial use of his knowledge of the social sciences in philosophy. Here I discuss how he used it on the basis of a few examples taken from Gellner’s philosophical output. It is argued that he made a number of highly original “translations”, orre-interpretations, of philosophical theories and problems using his knowledge of the social sciences. While this method is endorsed, it is also argued that some of Gellner’s translations crossed (...) the line between the original and the idiosyncratic. (shrink)
With the dismantling of Marxist-Leninist ideology, fresh inspiration has been discernible in recent Soviet philosophy. This article argues that a major area of concern is the nature of the human being, a theme formerly dominated by the "social" conceptions inscribed into official historical materialism. Soviet philosophers are examining such categories as culture, spirit, consciousness, and personality with an eye to their common characteristics. For many, the latter is grounded in the nature of the person, the specificity of which (...) lies in a morally qualified unity of action, sentiment, and reason. The author brings together evidence for this thesis and discusses the arguments of the Soviet philosophers with an eye to their conceptual resources and models. (shrink)
Socialphilosophy is a somewhat broad and imprecise term. In this article I discuss the socialphilosophy of Habermas, Foucault and Honneth, arguing that the latter’s work is an interesting, but not unproblematic, conception of the discipline. Following Habermas and Honneth, I argue that socialphilosophy should be reconstructive, but incorporate insights from Foucault. Specifically, reconstructive socialphilosophy can be both normative and descriptive, and at the same time establish a dialectical relationship (...) between philosophy and the social sciences, thus fulfilling the ambition for socialphilosophy originally put forward by Horkheimer. The thesis I defend in this article is that reconstructive socialphilosophy in Habermasian or Honnethian fashion has the resources available to accomplish this ambitious task. (shrink)
The new social reality of the end of twentieth century has created the need to reexamine our social theories. This paper is devoted to the methodological andtheoretical aspects of a new paradigm for socialphilosophy. The author formulates the main features of the paradigm: restricted rationalism, pluralism, variability, multi-dimensionality, stochasticity, the human dimension of social processes, alternativity, non-predictability, catastrophicity, and self-organization. The author then uses the methodological tools of this paradigm to reconstruct and examine the (...) socio-cultural reality in post-communist Ukraine. (shrink)
Axel Honneth has recently proposed a reformulation of the task of socialphilosophy as the 'diagnosis of social pathologies'-i.e. as the critical diagnosis ofprocesses of social decline, fragmentation, and alienation. In this paper I evaluate Honneth's proposed reformulation, supplementing my criticisms with an alternative of my own.