Drawing on the intellectual tradition of the leading comparative political science scholar, Giovanni Sartori, the contributors examine the theoretical and methodological basis of: Concept Analysis, Comparative Political Analysis and Qualitative Methods.
This book provides a clear introduction to key philosophical and epistemological issues in the socialsciences, to both positivist and interpretative methodologies through comparing contemporary debates surrounding social change.
Academia’s mathematical metaphysics are briefly explored en route to an elaboration of the qualitatively rigorous requirements underpinning the calibration and unambiguous interpretation of quantitative instrumentation in any science. Of particular interest are Gadamer’s emphases on number as the paradigm of the noetic, on the role of play in interpretation, and on Hegel’s sense of method as the activity of the thing itself that thought experiences. These point toward and overlap with (1) Latour’s study of the metrological social networks (...) through which technological phenomena are brought into language as modes of being that can be understood, and (2) the way that Rasch’s models for measurement comprise a potential beginning for metaphysically astute, qualitatively and quantitatively integrated, mathematical methods in the socialsciences. The paper closes with observations on the general problem that is philosophy, the need to remain open to multiplicities of meaning even as clear understandings are sought and obtained. (shrink)
While it is heartening to see that more researchers in the field of the socialsciences are using some version of the phenomenological method, it is also disappointing to see that very often some of the steps employed do not follow phenomenological logic. In this paper, several dissertations are reviewed in order to point out some of the difficulties that are encountered in attempting to use some version of the phenomenological method. Difficulties encountered centred on the (...) phenomenological reduction, the use of imaginative variation and the feedback to subjects. Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology , Volume 8, Edition 1 May 2008. (shrink)
This is a comprehensive and authoritative reference collection in the philosophy and methodology of the socialsciences. 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 socialsciences, and the contemporary philosophical and methodological debates developing at the heart of the disciplinary and interdisciplinary groups in the socialsciences. 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)
This book defends the prospects for a science of society. It argues that behind the diverse methods of the natural sciences lies a common core of scientific rationality that the socialsciences can and sometimes do achieve. It also argues that good social science must be in part about large-scale social structures and processes and thus that methodological individualism is misguided. These theses are supported by a detailed discussion of actual social research, including theories (...) of agrarian revolution, organizational ecology, social theories of depression, and supply-demand explanations in economics. Professor Kincaid provides a general picture of explanation and confirmation in the socialsciences and discusses the nature of scientific rationality, functional explanation, optimality arguments, meaning and interpretation, the place of microfoundations in social explanation, the status of neo-classical economics, the role of idealizations and non-experimental evidence, and other specific controversies. (shrink)
The hypothesis that play behavior is more prevalent in larger-brained animals has recently been challenged. It may be, for example, that only certain brain structures are related to play. Here, we analyze social play behavior with regards to the cerebellum: a structure strongly implicated in motor-development, and possibly also in cognitive skills. We present an evolutionary analysis of social play and the cerebellum, using a phylogenetic comparativemethod. Social play frequency and relative cerebellum size are (...) positively correlated. Hence, there appears to be a link between the evolutionary elaboration of social play and the cerebellum. (shrink)
Now that complex Agent-Based Models and computer simulations spread over economics and socialsciences - as in most sciences of complex systems -, epistemological puzzles (re)emerge. We introduce new epistemological concepts so as to show to what extent authors are right when they focus on some empirical, instrumental or conceptual significance of their model or simulation. By distinguishing between models and simulations, between types of models, between types of computer simulations and between types of empiricity obtained through (...) a simulation, section 2 gives the possibility to understand more precisely - and then to justify - the diversity of the epistemological positions presented in section 1. Our final claim is that careful attention to the multiplicity of the denotational powers of symbols at stake in complex models and computer simulations is necessary to determine, in each case, their proper epistemic status and credibility. (shrink)
All three of the books under review Science and Social Science by Malcolm Williams, Rethinking Science by Jan Faye, and Open the SocialSciences by the members of the Gulbenkian Commission on the Restructuring of the SocialSciences (Immanuel Wallerstein, chair)argue for a broadly naturalist approach in which the socialsciences are seen as of a piece with the natural sciences. Fortunately, all three do so in a discriminating way that avoids simple (...) options and that appreciates the important ways the social-scientific disciplines require their own approach. Open the SocialSciences in particular also contains detailed and wise advice as to how the contemporary socialsciences should proceed if they want to fulfill their ambition to explain human social behavior in a scientific way. Key Words: science social science scientific method unity of the sciences reductionism explanation interpretation complexity theory. (shrink)
It is well known that Ernest Gellner made substantial use of his knowledge of the socialsciences 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 socialsciences. 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)
An historical review of authorship definitions and publication practices that are embedded in directions to authors and in the codes of ethics in the fields of psychology, sociology, and education illuminates reasonable agreement and consistency across the fields with regard to (a) originality of the work submitted, (b) data sharing, (c) human participants’ protection, and (d) conflict of interest disclosure. However, the role of the professional association in addressing violations of research or publication practices varies among these fields. Psychology and (...) sociology provide active oversight with sanction authority. In education, the association assumes a more limited role: to develop and communicate standards to evoke voluntary compliance. With respect to authorship credit, each association’s standards focus on criteria for inclusion as an author, other than on the author’s ability to defend and willingness to take responsibility for the entire work. Discussions across a broad range of research disciplines beyond the socialsciences would likely be beneficial. Whether improved standards will reduce either misattribution or perceptions of inappropriate attribution of credit within social science disciplines will likely depend on how well authorship issues are addressed in responsible conduct of research education (RCR), in research practice, and in each association’s ongoing efforts to influence normative practice by specifying and clarifying best practices. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to discuss the “Framework for M&S with Agents” (FMSA) proposed by Zeigler et al. [2000, 2009] in regard to the diverse epistemological aims of agent simulations in socialsciences. We first show that there surely are great similitudes, hence that the aim to emulate a universal “automated modeler agent” opens new ways of interactions between these two domains of M&S with agents. E.g., it can be shown that the multi-level conception at the (...) core of the FMSA is similar in both contexts: notions of “levels of system specifi cation”, “behavior of models”, “simulator”and “endomorphic agents” can be partially translated in the terms linked to the “denotational hierarchy” (DH) and recently introduced in a multi-level centered epistemology of M&S. Second, we suggest considering the question of “credibility” of agent M&S in socialsciences when we do not try to emulate but only to simulate target systems. Whereas a stringent and standardized treatment of the heterogeneous internal relations (in the DH) between systems of formalisms is the key problem and the essential challenge in the scope of Agent M&S driven engineering, it is urgent too to address the problem of the external relations (and of the external validity, hence of the epistemic power and credibility) of such levels of formalisms in the specific domains of agent M&S in socialsciences, especially when we intend to introduce the concepts of activity tracking. (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 socialsciences 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 socialsciences 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)
The Claims of Common Sense investigates the importance of ideas developed by Cambridge philosophers between the World Wars for the socialsciences concerning common sense, vague concepts, and ordinary language. John Coates examines the thought of Moore, Ramsey, Wittgenstein and Keynes, and traces their common drift away from early beliefs about the need for precise concepts and a canonical notation in analysis. He argues that Keynes borrowed from Wittgenstein and Ramsey their reappraisal of vague concepts, and developed the (...) novel argument that when analysing something as complex as social reality, theory might be simplified by using concepts which lack sharp boundaries. Coates then contrasts this conclusion with the view shared by two contemporary philosophical paradigms - formal semantics and Continental post-structuralism - that the vagueness of ordinary language inevitably leads to interpretive indeterminacy. Developing a link between Cambridge philosophy and current work on complexity, vague predicates, and fuzzy logic, he argues that Wittgenstein's and Keynes's ideas on the economy of ordinary language present a mediating route for the socialsciences between these philosophical paradigms. (shrink)
The experience with genetically modified foods has been prominent in motivating science, industry and regulatory bodies to address the social and ethical dimensions of nanotechnology. The overall objective is to gain the general public’s acceptance of nanotechnology in order not to provoke a consumer boycott as it happened with genetically modified foods. It is stated implicitly in reports on nanotechnology research and development that this acceptance depends on the public’s confidence in the technology and that the confidence is created (...) on the basis of information, education, openness and debate about scientific and technological developments. Hence, it is assumed that informing and educating the public will create trust, which will consequently lead to an acceptance of nanotechnology. Thus, the humanities and socialsciences are seen as tools to achieve public acceptance. In this paper, the author argues that this is a narrow apprehension of the role of the humanities and socialsciences. The humanities and socialsciences have a critical function asking fundamental questions and informing the public about these reflections. This may lead to scepticism, however, the motivation for addressing the social and ethical dimensions of nanotechnology should not be public acceptance but informed judgement. The author illustrates this critical function by discussing the role, motivation and contribution of ethics as an example. Lastly, the author shows that a possible strategy for incorporating the humanities and the socialsciences into nanotechnology research and development is Real-Time Technology Assessment, where the purpose is to integrate natural science and engineering investigations with ethical, legal and social science from the outset. (shrink)
Divided into two parts this book examines the train of social theory from the 19th century, through to the `organization of modernity', in relation to ideas of social planning, and as contributors to the `rationalistic revolution' of the `golden age' of capitalism in the 1950s and 60s. Part two examines key concepts in the socialsciences. It begins with some of the broadest concepts used by social scientists: choice, decision, action and institution and moves on (...) to examine the `collectivist alternative': the concepts of society, culture and polity, which are often dismissed as untenable by postmodernists today. This is a major contribution to contemporary social theory and provides a host of essential insights into the task of social science today. (shrink)
This paper is a response to Henk ten Have's Genetics and Culture: The Geneticization thesis . In it, I refute Ten Have's suggestion that geneticization is not the sort of process that can be measured and commented on in terms of empirical evidence,even if he is correct in suggesting that it should be seen as part of âphilosophical discourseâ. At the end, I relate this discussion to broader debates within bioethics between the social science and philosophy, and suggest the (...) need for philosophical approaches to take the socialsciences seriously. (shrink)
This important volume provides an overview of the history of social, economic, and political thought prior to the development of disciplinary categories in socialsciences. It contextualizes the thought movements in the matrix of pre-modern intellectual traditions as well as the long-range history of society, polity, and economy in modern India. Thematically organized into five sections, the first part examines the evolution of economic thinking in modern India. The next section deals with the discourse of social (...) reform, critical studies of society, and the emergence of academic sociology. The third part highlights the perspectives of the hegemonized and oppressed social groups--the view "from below". The two concluding segments respectively discuss gender and reform movements and the role of political thought in the national movement. Thematically organized into five sections, the first part examines the evolution of economic thinking in modern India. The next section deals with the discourse of social reform, critical studies of society, and the emergence of academic sociology. The third part highlights the perspectives of the hegemonized and oppressed social groups--the view "from below". The two concluding segments respectively discuss gender and reform movements and the role of political thought in the national movement. In spite of its primary historical character, this Project, both in its conceptualization and execution, has been shaped by many scholars drawn from different disciplines. It is for the first time that an endeavor of such a unique and comprehensive character has been undertaken to study critically a major world civilization like India. (shrink)
This volume is a unique contribution to the philosophy of the socialsciences, 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 socialsciences 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'>socialsciences. 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 socialsciences. (shrink)
Many influential stances within the socialsciences regard nature in one of two ways: either as none of their concern (which is with the social and cultural aspects of human existence), or as wholly a social and cultural fabrication. But there is also another strand of social scientific thinking that seeks to understand the interplay between social and cultural factors on one side and natural factors on the other. These volumes contain the main contributions (...) that have been made within each of these streams of thought. The selections illustrate to the reader the complexity of the various positions within these streams, and the strengths and limitations of each perspective. A new introduction places these articles in their historical and intellectual context and the volumes are completed with an extensive index and chronological table of contents. (shrink)
Acknowledgments -- Preface -- Editor's introduction -- Wittgenstein, Kuhn, and natural science : science : a perspicuous presentation -- Kuhn : the Wittgenstein of the sciences? -- Kuhn on incommensurability : inhabiting the standard reading -- Wittgenstein on incommensurability : the view from "inside" -- Values : another kind of incommensurability? -- Does Kuhn have a model of science? -- Inter-section : a schematic elicitation of Wittgensteinian criteria -- Wittgenstein, Winch, and "human science" : social science -- The (...) ghost of Winch's ghost -- Psychiatry -- The hard case of (severe cases of) schizophrenia -- Extreme aversive emotions -- Economics -- Wittgenstein contra Friedman -- Cognitive science -- "Dissolving" the hard problem of consciousness back into ordinary life -- Conclusions -- Concluding summary -- Interview with Rupert Read (conducted by the editor) -- Bibliography -- Index. (shrink)
The social, behavioral, and a good chunk of the biological sciences concern the nature of individual agency, where our paradigm for an individual is a human being. Theories of economic behavior, of mental function and dysfunction, and of ontogenetic development, for example, are theories of how such individuals act, and of what internal and external factors are determinative of that action. Such theories construe individuals in distinctive ways.
“This book will certainly prove to be a useful resource and reference point … a good addition to anyone’s bookshelf.” Network "This is a superb collection, expertly presented. The overall conception seems splendid, giving an excellent sense of the issues... The selection and length of the readings is admirably judged, with both the classic texts and the few unpublished pieces making just the right points." William Outhwaite, Professor of Sociology, University of Sussex "... an indispensable book for all of us (...) in philosophy and the socialsciences who teach and care about the shape of social knowledge in the future." Steven Seidman, Professor of Sociology, State University of New York Albany "For a comprehensive account of the ways in which world transformations affect claims to social scientific knowledge, one need look no further than Gerard Delanty and Piet Strydom's Philosophies of Social Science . ...this collection captures nicely the increasingly engaged political nature of the philosophy of social science. Debates about pragmatism, feminism and postmodernism are particularly well represented" The Australian What is social science? How does it differ from the other sciences? What is the meaning of method in social science? What is the nature and limits of scientific knowledge? This collection of over sixty extracts from classic works on the philosophy of social science provides an essential textbook and a landmark reference in the field. It highlights the work of some of the most influential authors who have shaped social science. The texts explore the question of truth, the meaning of scientific knowledge, the nature of methodology and the relation of science to society, including edited extracts from both classic and contemporary works by authors such as Emile Durkheim, Georg Simmel, Max Weber, Alfred Schutz, Max Horkheimer, Jurgen Habermas, Alvin Gouldner, Karl-Otto Apel, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, Anthony Giddens, Dorothy Smith, Donna Haraway, Sigmund Freud, Jacques Derrida and Claude Levi-Strauss. The readings are representative of the major schools of thought, including European and American trends in particular as well as approaches that are often excluded from mainstream traditions. From a teaching and learning perspective the volume is strengthened by extensive introductions to each of the six sections, as well as a general introduction to the reader as a whole. These introductions contextualise the readings and offer succinct summaries of them. This volume is the definitive companion to the study of the philosophy of social science, taught within undergraduate or postgraduate courses in sociology and the socialsciences. (shrink)
In this lucid and engaging introductory volume on the nature of society, Roger Trigg examines the scientific basis of social science and shows that philosophical presuppositions are a necessary starting point for the study of society.