Defending scientific study of the social: Against Clifford Geertz (and his critics)

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 37 (3):289-314 (2007)
This paper will defend scientific study of the social by scrutinizing Clifford Geertz's interpretive anthropology, and evolutionary psychologists' criticism of it. I shall critically examine Geertz's identification of anthropology with literary criticism, his assumption that a science of society is possible only on a positivist model, his view of the relation between culture and mind, and his anti anti-relativism. Then I shall discuss evolutionary psychologists' criticism of Geertz's view as an exemplar of the so-called "Standard Social Science Model." Finally, I shall claim that both Geertz and evolutionary psychologists misunderstand the aim of the social sciences, which is to explain the unintended consequences of human actions in institutional contexts. Key Words: Clifford Geertz • evolutionary psychology • interpretive anthropology • positivism • Standard Social Science Model (SSSM).
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0048393107303776
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,463
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Clifford Geertz (1981). Commentary on Professor Tu's Paper. Philosophy East and West 31 (3):269-272.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

31 ( #155,124 of 1,925,534 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #418,152 of 1,925,534 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.