Innovation in social research

The social sciences are charged to arrive at a good empirical understanding of the social world around us. They are charged to provide hypotheses and theories on the basis of which to explain the outcomes and patterns they discover. And they are charged to help design policies and interventions that will contribute to durable solutions …

What is social scientific knowledge?

The social and behavioral sciences endeavor to describe, explain, and interpret the range of the social and behavioral facts that surround us. To refer to this body of findings as “science” is to claim a set of epistemic values about the nature of the methods of inquiry and evaluation that are used to arrive at …

More on continental philosophy of social science

I encourage interested readers to take a look at the very thoughtful and extensive comment provided by Nick from accursedshare on my earlier posting on continental philosophy of social science. Nick highlights a number of very important lines of thought that are making progress in contemporary discussions of these issues within continental philosophy of science. …

Continental philosophy of social science

Making sense of the human world has always been a part of the continental tradition in philosophy. History, justice, and meaning are subjects that have played central roles in continental writings relevant to "understanding society" for three centuries, and dozens of philosophers have focused on these and related topics in deeply fertile ways -- Kant, …

Tributaries of the philosophy of the social sciences

The philosophy of the social sciences is largely focused on questions about the nature of our knowledge, representation, and explanation of social phenomena. There is an ontological side to some of the questions in this field -- for example, what is the nature of social phenomena? But many of the questions are epistemological, having to …

Wittgenstein and "understanding society"

Does Wittgenstein's philosophy in the Philosophical Investigations have anything distinctive to add to better ways of understanding society? And is there anything in Wittgenstein's philosophy that contributes to the philosophy of social science? (These are different questions, even though they seem to be closely related; the first question is conceptual or ontological, whereas the second …

Piecemeal empirical assessment of social theories

The philosophy of science devotes a large fraction of its wattage to this question: what is the logic of empirical confirmation for scientific beliefs? (A good short introduction is Samir Okasha, Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction.) In the natural sciences this question became entangled with the parochial fact about the natural sciences, that …

Realism for the social sciences?

Scientific realism is the idea that scientific theories provide descriptions of the world that are approximately true. This view implies a correspondence theory of truth -- the idea that the world is separate from the concepts that we use to describe it. And it implies some sort of theory of scientific rationality -- a theory …

Philosophy and society

How does philosophy intersect with the social world? How does philosophical thinking contribute to better understanding of society? (At the right we see Jurgen Habermas teaching philosophy in 1960.)It is possible that philosophy is not a well-defined discipline. But philosophers regard themselves as having something of a method, and something of a subject matter. The …

The "dis"-unity of social science

One of the central goals of Vienna Circle philosophy of science was the idea of the unity of science. The idea included at least two separable parts: methodological unity and unity of content under a single system of laws. On the methodological side there was the idea that the logic of explanation and confirmation should …

%d bloggers like this: