Justifying Sociological Knowledge: From Realism to Interpretation

Sociological Theory 26 (2):101-129 (2008)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

In the context of calls for "postpositivist" sociology, realism has emerged as a powerful and compelling epistemology for social science. In transferring and transforming scientific realism --a philosophy of natural science--into a justificatory discourse for social science, realism splits into two parts: a strict, highly naturalistic realism and a reflexive, more mediated, and critical realism. Both forms of realism, however, suffer from conceptual ambiguities, omissions, and elisions that make them an inappropriate epistemology for social science. Examination of these problems in detail reveals how a different perspective--centered on the interpretation of meaning--could provide a better justification for social inquiry, and in particular a better understanding of sociological theory and the construction of sociological explanations.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,594

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Model-Theoretic Argument Against Realism.G. H. Merrill - 1980 - Philosophy of Science 47 (1):69-81.
Critical Scientific Realism.Ilkka Niiniluoto - 1999 - Oxford University Press.
Scientific Realism: An Elaboration and a Defence.Howard Sankey - 2001 - Theoria A Journal of Social and Political Theory 98 (98):35-54.
Modest Realism.William Newton-Smith - 1988 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:179 - 189.
Horwich on 'Semantic' and 'Metaphysical' Realism.David Davies - 1987 - Philosophy of Science 54 (4):539-557.

Analytics

Added to PP
2011-05-29

Downloads
100 (#122,266)

6 months
5 (#144,440)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?