We researchers in the humanities and socialsciences, similar to the archaeologists but only less literally, are constantly digging through unknown dirt and even uncharted territories in hopes of finding “diamonds.”.
Aims and Scope -/- The Vietnamese SocialSciences and Humanities at a Fork in the Road, utilizing an object-oriented structured database on the productivity of Vietnamese researchers, seeks to provide a comprehensive overview of the development of SocialSciences and Humanities in Vietnam from 2008 to 2018. -/- Quan-Hoang Vuong (Ph.D., Université Libre de Bruxelles) is the director of Centre for Interdisciplinary Social Research, Phenikaa University in Hanoi, Vietnam. He is chairman of the Vietnam chapter (...) of the European Association of Science Editors and serves in the NAFOSTED Scientific Council on Basic Research in the SocialSciences and Humanities (2019-2021). Dr. Vuong has published more than 120 academic articles, and book chapters in about 50 refereed journals and books by such publishers as Elsevier, Inderscience, Nature Publishing Group, Springer, Praeger, Wiley, World Scientific, etc. -/- Trung Tran is an Associate Professor of Mathematics Education and works at Vietnam Academy for Ethnic Minorities. He is a member of the Vietnam chapter of The European Association of Science Editors (EASE), a leader of the Vietnamese Science Editors (VSE) Team, and a chairman of Editor's Board of Journal of Ethnic Minorities Research (ISSN: 0866-773X). (shrink)
This 1996 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)
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)
Nowadays, protecting trust in socialsciences also means engaging in open community dialogue, which helps to safeguard robustness and improve efficiency of research methods. The combination of open data, open review and open dialogue may sound simple but implementation in the real world will not be straightforward. However, in view of Begley and Ellis’s (2012) statement that, “the scientific process demands the highest standards of quality, ethics and rigour,” they are worth implementing. More importantly, they are feasible to (...) work on and likely will help to restore plausibility to socialsciences research. Therefore, I feel it likely that the triplet of open data, open review and open dialogue will gradually emerge to become policy requirements regardless of the research funding source. (shrink)
This study presents a description of an open database on scientific output of Vietnamese researchers in socialsciences and humanities, one that corrects for the shortcomings in current research publication databases such as data duplication, slow update, and a substantial cost of doing science. Here, using scientists’ self-reports, open online sources and cross-checking with Scopus database, we introduce a manual system and its semi-automated version of the database on the profiles of 657 Vietnamese researchers in social (...) class='Hi'>sciences and humanities who have published in Scopus-indexed journals from 2008 to 2018. The final system also records 973 foreign co-authors, 1,289 papers, and 789 affiliations. The data collection method, highly applicable for other sources, could be replicated in other developing countries while its content be used in cross-section, multivariate, and network data analyses. The open database is expected to help Vietnam revamp its research capacity and meet the public demand for greater transparency in science management. (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)
This paper presents three cases of research ethics violations in the socialsciences and humanities that involved major educational institutions in Vietnam. The violations share two common points: the use of sophistry by the accused perpetrators and their sympathisers, and the relative ease with which they succeeded unpunished. The strategies the violators used to avoid punishment could be summarised as: (i) relying on people not paying enough attention when asked to do something relatively quickly, (ii) asking for the (...) benefit of the doubt, (iii) redefining the meaning of ethics, and (iv) defaming the whistleblowers and showing how fighting ethics violations is too costly, slow and, in the end, worthless. We offer suggestions to improve transparency: investment in translation and education about codes of conduct in Vietnam; investment in research ethics and integrity; the use of open online resources and platforms; and educating Vietnamese researchers about international standards. (shrink)
Background: Academic productivity has been studied by scholars all round the world for many years. However, in Vietnam, this topic has scarcely been addressed. This research therefore aims at better understanding the correlations between gender, age, research experience, the leading role of corresponding authors, and the total number of their publications in the specific realm of socialsciences and humanities. Methods: The study employed a Scopus dataset with publication profiles of 410 Vietnamese researchers between 2008 and 2017. Results: (...) Men did not differ from women in academic publications (P=0.827). The proficiency of corresponding authors positively correlated with the number of published papers (rs=0.61, P<0.001). Lastly, the age of lead authors strongly correlated with scientific output (rs=0.74, P<0.001 for authors between 40 and 50 years of age). Conclusion: While scientific output correlated with the author ages and number of articles in which they led, it was not correlated with their gender in Vietnamese social science and humanities authors. (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 tools so as to show to what precise extent each author is right when he focuses on some empirical, instrumental or conceptual significance of his model or simulation. By distinguishing between models and simulations, between types of models, between types of computer simulations and between types of empiricity, (...) section 2 gives conceptual tools to explain the rationale of the diverse epistemological positions presented in section 1. Finally, we claim that a careful attention to the real multiplicity of denotational powers of symbols at stake and then to the implicit routes of references operated by models and computer simulations is necessary to determine, in each case, the proper epistemic status and credibility of a given model and/or simulation. (shrink)
This is the definitive companion to the study of the philosophy of the socialsciences. It provides the student with an accessible, comprehensive and philosophically rigorous introduction to all the major philosophical concepts, issues and debates raised by the socialsciences. Ideal for use in undergraduate courses, the structure and content of this textbook-the most thorough, clearly argued and up-to-date available-closely reflect the way the philosophy of the socialsciences is studied and taught. The (...) text examines key conceptual and methodological questions in the socialsciences and illustrates how these shape the practice of research, the interpretation of findings and theory formulation in such disciplines as economics, political science and psychology. The book not only offers lucid and incisive coverage of the philosophy of the socialsciences, but also extends the major debates and considers the latest directions in this growing area of philosophical interest. Robert C. Bishop's cogent and rigorous analysis is supplemented by useful pedagogical features, including key examples from philosophical writing; summaries of core debates; sample questions and exercises; and guides for further reading. (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 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 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 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) 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)
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)
This volume focuses on key conceptual issues in the socialsciences, such as Winch's idea of a social science, structuralism, Malinowski and Evans-Pritchard, and the concept of kinship. In particular it deals with such problems as the relationship of nature and culture, the relevance of concepts drawn from within a given society to its understanding, and the relation of theory to time.
The concepts of adaptation and fitness have such an appeal that they have been used in other scientific domains, including the socialsciences. One particular aspect of this theory transfer concerns the so-called fitness landscape models. At first sight, fitness landscapes visualize how an agent, of any kind, relates to its environment, how its position is conditional because of the mutual interaction with other agents, and the potential routes towards improved fitness. The allure of fitness landscapes is first (...) and foremost that it represents a complex story about adaptation and fitness in one coherent image. Different accounts of fitness landscapes in different domains in the socialsciences suggest that the properties and functions of fitness landscapes are attributed rather freely. These differences are testimony of the model’s versatility. At the same time, one will notice that the different approaches can also create ambiguity about the exact meaning and role of fitness landscapes in the socialsciences. This article presents an extensive literature survey of the diverging interpretations and uses of fitness landscapes in the socialsciences and discusses the implications in terms of how these models inform scientific inquiry. (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)
In this new edition of his critically acclaimed book, Jon Elster examines the nature of social behavior, proposing choice as the central concept of the socialsciences. Extensively revised throughout, the book offers an overview of key explanatory mechanisms, drawing on many case studies and experiments to explore the nature of explanation in the socialsciences; an analysis of the mental states – beliefs, desires, and emotions – that are precursors to action; a systematic comparison (...) of rational-choice models of behavior with alternative accounts, and a review of mechanisms of social interaction ranging from strategic behavior to collective decision making. A wholly new chapter includes an exploration of classical moralists and Proust in charting mental mechanisms operating “behind the back” of the agent, and a new conclusion points to the pitfalls and fallacies in current ways of doing social science, proposing guidelines for more modest and more robust procedures. (shrink)
Originally published in 1986. All students of social science must confront a number of important philosophical issues. This introduction to the philosophy of the socialsciences provides coherent answers to questions about empiricism, explanation and rationality. It evaluates contemporary writings on the subject which can be as difficult as they are important to understand. Each chapter has an annotated bibliography to enable students to pursue the issues raised and to assess for themselves the arguments of the authors.
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 article defends methodological and theoretical pluralism in the socialsciences. While pluralistic, such a philosophy of social science is both pragmatic and normative. Only by facing the problems of such pluralism, including how to resolve the potential conflicts between various methods and theories, is it possible to discover appropriate criteria of adequacy for social scientific explanations and interpretations. So conceived, the socialsciences do not give us fixed and universal features of the (...) class='Hi'>social world, but rather contribute to the task of improving upon our practical knowledge of on-going social life. After arguing for such a thorough-going pluralism based on the indeterminacy of social action, I defend it from the post-modern and hermeneutic objections by suggesting the possibility of an epistemology of interpretive social science as a form of practical knowledge. (shrink)
This is a contribution to thesociology and social epistemology of knowledgeproduction in Russian socialsciences today. Inthe initial section, the epistemic status andsocial function of Soviet social scientificdiscourse are characterized in terms of textualforms and their modes of (re-)production. Theremaining sections detail the course of therestructuration of social scientific discoursesince the fall of the Soviet Union and draw onextant empirical sources, in particular studiesof bibliographical rubrics, thematicrepertoires, and current textual formsthroughout the public sphere and the (...) academicestablishment in Russia. An underlying concernis the shifting status of the intellectual inthe wider socio-cultural context as reflectedin language usage and its textualembodiments. (shrink)
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.
For the last three decades, the discussion on Hilary Putnam’s provocative suggestions around the issue of realism has raged widely. Putnam’s various formulations of, and arguments for, what he called internal realism in contrast to what he called metaphysical realism have been scrutinised from a variety of perspectives. One angle of attack has been missing, though: the view from the socialsciences and the ontology of society. This perspective, I believe, will provide further confirmation to the observation that (...) Putnam’s two concepts of realism are all too aggregative in that they conflate elements that had better be kept distinct, at least for many important purposes (e.g. Niiniluoto 1996). The present essay can be read as an argument for a topic-specific examination of realism. This means that it challenges the overall validity of Richard Boyd’s arguments against what he calls “realism about”, that is, against “a certain fragmented conception of scientific realism, one according to which realism is deeply topic specific” (Boyd 1990, p. 175). Boyd takes the ‘x’ in realism about x” to designate two kinds of things: entities postulated in scientific theories (“realism about the ether” and “realism about higher taxa”) and scientific disciplines (“realism about physics” and “realism about biology”) (ibid., pp. 175, 190). He also suggests that “it seems possible cogently to accept realism about the natural sciences while denying it about at least some of the socialsciences” (ibid., p. 191). In Boyd’s view, the possibility of realism about socialsciences is undermined by their weak instrumental success; it is the instrumental reliability of method that he takes as the basis for a realist account of science. I do not underwrite this connection between realism and instrumental success, thus I am not compelled to reject realism about socialsciences on these grounds; and, as we shall see, socialsciences have other peculiarities as well (see Mäki 1996). I think we should, at least to some degree, disaggregate and relativize the issue of realism. I do have sympathy with Boyd’s strategic arguments against “realisms about”, but yet I believe realists will be better off by adopting a more concrete and localized approach to the issue (Mäki 2005). Social objects and socialsciences deserve a separate treatment. There are two strategies that can be followed in examining a realism about x (type of entity, theory, discipline). One is to first fix the meaning of realism’ and then specify the extension of ‘x’. This is Boyd’s strategy. The other is to fix some part of the extension of ‘x’ and then adjust the meaning of ‘realism’ so as to accommodate whatever peculiarities the x in question may have (and finally to check whether the adjusted meaning of ‘realism’ meets the criteria of a minimal notion of realism; it would be here that we encounter a relatively fixed idea of some minimal realism, or a set of realist intuitions). The latter is my approach here. I begin with the interconnected ideas of “realism about social objects” andrealism about socialsciences”. I am not only interested in what comes after ‘about’; I am also interested in what goes before it, namely ‘realism’ itself. Here is one premise of the discussion: the issue of proper forms of realism for dealing with specific problems is an issue to be settled at least partly a posteriori. Here is the problem for which a solution will be sought: what constraints, if any, does what we know about the socialsciences and society (as depicted by the socialsciences and our commonsense views) impose upon the forms of realism that can justifiably be adopted about them? This paper suggests to offer only some partial insight into this issue. It seeks to do so indirectly by discussing Putnam’s characterizations of internal and metaphysical realism. The focus will be on two aspects of Putnam’s realisms:  the role and kinds of independence and dependence (in relation to the human mind and related things); and  the possibility of error. It is shown that the nature of social objects has implications concerning the appropriate constraints on  and , and thereby on the kinds of realism that are available to social scientists. (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)
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)
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)
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)
Vinten looks at the relationship between Wittgenstein’s philosophy and the socialsciences as well as at the ideological implications of Wittgenstein’s philosophy and applications of Wittgenstein’s philosophy to problems in social science. He examines and assesses the work of thinkers like Richard Rorty, Perry Anderson, and Chantal Mouffe. -/- “Robert Vinten has produced an impressively meticulous and wide-ranging discussion of how Wittgenstein’s mature philosophy can revitalize the socialsciences. There is insight and scholarship on every (...) page. This important book will open up new possibilities for both philosophers and social scientists.” —Leonidas Tsilipakos, Lecturer, University of Bristol, UK. (shrink)
We live in a world of crowds and corporations, artworks and artifacts, legislatures and languages, money and markets. These are all social objects — they are made, at least in part, by people and by communities. But what exactly are these things? How are they made, and what is the role of people in making them? In The Ant Trap, Brian Epstein rewrites our understanding of the nature of the social world and the foundations of the social (...)sciences. Epstein explains and challenges the three prevailing traditions about how the social world is made. One tradition takes the social world to be built out of people, much as traffic is built out of cars. A second tradition also takes people to be the building blocks of the social world, but focuses on thoughts and attitudes we have toward one another. And a third tradition takes the social world to be a collective projection onto the physical world. Epstein shows that these share critical flaws. Most fundamentally, all three traditions overestimate the role of people in building the social world: they are overly anthropocentric. Epstein starts from scratch, bringing the resources of contemporary metaphysics to bear. In the place of traditional theories, he introduces a model based on a new distinction between the grounds and the anchors of social facts. Epstein illustrates the model with a study of the nature of law, and shows how to interpret the prevailing traditions about the social world. Then he turns to social groups, and to what it means for a group to take an action or have an intention. Contrary to the overwhelming consensus, these often depend on more than the actions and intentions of group members. (shrink)
Possibilities haunt history. The force of our explanations of events turns on the alternative possibilities these explanations suggest. It is these possible worlds which give us our understanding; and in human affairs we decide them by practical rather than theoretical judgement. In his widely acclaimed account of the role of counterfactuals in explanation, Geoffrey Hawthorn deploys extended examples from history and modern times to defend his argument. His conclusions cast doubt on existing assumptions about the nature and place of theory, (...) and indeed of the possibility of knowledge itself, in the human sciences. (shrink)
The thought about this book has been developed with the view of adding value to the teaching of Research Methodology for undergraduate and graduate students in developing economies like Sierra Leone. At the same time, it is a very useful tool for professionals engaged in research as part of their work life and for which their understanding of the dichotomy between Research Methods and Research Methodology needs to be addressed. It is divided into distinct sections, which makes it very easy (...) for the beginner researcher to understand the difference in concepts used, while at the same time enhancing their basic understanding of scientific tool(s) needed to pursue ontological research, with the aim of adding new value in the body of knowledge. The main motivation for producing the first edition is based on the following: ● To write a book that focused on using and applying the techniques of research methodology in a research setting. ● To write a book that is accessible to students and practicing researchers in developing country like Sierra Leone, where the subject matter is not so well taught, but critical in developing knowledge capacity for graduates entering the profession of research. ● To pursue critical research, particularly in the social science field pertaining to Econometrics, Sociology, Development Economics and many more. (shrink)
The dispute between the empiricist and interpretivist conceptions of the socialsciences is properly conceived not as a matter of reduction or covering laws. Features specific to the socialsciences include the following. Explanations of human behavior make reference to intentional causation; social phenomena are permeated with mental components and are self-referential; social science explanations have not been as successful as those in natural science because of their concern with intentional causation, because their explanations (...) must be identical with the propositional content of the mind of the actor, and because a social phenomenon exists only if people believe it exists. Elements of an apparatus necessary to analyze this problematic social ontology are given and include selfreferentiality, constitutive rules, collective intentionality, linguistic permeation of the facts, systematic interrelationships among social facts, and primacy of acts over objects. (shrink)
Simulation techniques, especially those implemented on a computer, are frequently employed in natural as well as in socialsciences with considerable success. There is mounting evidence that the "model-building era" (J. Niehans) that dominated the theoretical activities of the sciences for a long time is about to be succeeded or at least lastingly supplemented by the "simulation era". But what exactly are models? What is a simulation and what is the difference and the relation between a model (...) and a simulation? These are some of the questions addressed in this article. I maintain that the most significant feature of a simulation is that it allows scientists to imitate one process by another process. "Process" here refers solely to a temporal sequence of states of a system. Given the observation that processes are dealt with by all sorts of scientists, it is apparent that simulations prove to be a powerful interdisciplinarily acknowledged tool. Accordingly, simulations are best suited to investigate the various research strategies in different sciences more carefully. To this end, I focus on the function of simulations in the research process. Finally, a somewhat detailed case-study from nuclear physics is presented which, in my view, illustrates elements of a typical simulation in physics. (shrink)
The term ‘phenomenology’ has become almost as over-used and emptied of meaning as that other word from Continental Philosophy, namely ‘existentialism’. Yet Husserl, who first put forward the phenomenological method, considered it a rigorous alternative to positivism, and in the hands of Merleau-Ponty, a disciple of Husserl in France, phenomenology became a way of gaining a disciplined and coherent perspective on the world in which we live. When this study originally published in 1977 there were only a few books in (...) English on Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy. It introduced the reader and suggested how his thought might throw light on some of the assumptions and presuppositions of certain contemporary forms of Anglo-Saxon philosophy and social science. It also demonstrates how phenomenology seeks to unite philosophy and social science, rather than define them as mutually exclusive domains of knowledge. (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.
Several recent publications attest to a renewed interest, at the dawn of the 21st century, in the philosophy of Charles S. Peirce. While agreeing with the relevance of Peirce philosophy for the 21st century, we disagree with some interpretations of Peirce as a utilitarian-based pragmatist, or with attempts to extract from Peirce a theory of social justice for 21st century societies. A critical exploration of Peirce’s philosophy of science, particularly his idea of scientific inquiry as “the study of useless (...) things”, serves to illuminate the un-pragmatic and anti-utilitarian dimension of Peirce’s thought, as well as to reveal his true ethical relevance for the 21st century. (shrink)
Zaner, R. M. Eidos and science.--Tiryakian, E. A. Durkheim and Husserl.--Ricoeur, P. Can there be a scientific concept of ideology?--Natanson, M. The problem of anonymity in the thought of Alfred Schutz. -- Dallmayr, F. R. Genesis and validation of social knowledge.
A recent movement in the socialsciences and philosophy of the socialsciences focuses on mechanisms as a central analytical unit. Starting from a pluralist perspective on the aims of the socialsciences, I argue that there are a number of important aims to which knowledge about mechanismswhatever their virtues relative to other aimscontributes very little at best and that investigating mechanisms is therefore a methodological strategy with fairly limited applicability. Key Words: social (...) science mechanisms explanation critical realism methodology. (shrink)
All univocal analyses of causation face counterexamples. An attractive response to this situation is to become a pluralist about causal relationships. "Causal pluralism" is itself, however, a pluralistic notion. In this article, I argue in favor of pluralism about concepts of cause in the socialsciences. The article will show that evidence for, inference from, and the purpose of causal claims are very closely linked. Key Words: causation • pluralism • evidence • methodology.