Finding Philosophy in Social Science

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Yale University Press, 1996 - Social Science - 432 pages
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Written by an eminent and original thinker in the philosophy of science, this book takes a fresh, unorthodox look at the key philosophical concepts and assumptions of the social sciences. Mario Bunge contends that social scientists (anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, economists, and historians) ought not to leave philosophy to philosophers, who have little expertise in or knowledge of the social sciences. Bunge urges social scientists to engage in serious philosophizing and philosophers to participate in social research. The two fields are interrelated, he says, and important advances in each can supply tools for solving problems in the other.
Bunge analyzes concepts that the fields of philosophy and social science share, such as fact, cause, and value. He discusses assumptions and misassumptions involved in such current approaches as idealism, materialism, and subjectivism, and finds that none of the best-known philosophies helps to advance or even understand social science. In a highly critical appraisal of rational choice theories, Bunge insists that these models provide no solid substantive theory of society, nor do they help guide rational action. He offers ten criteria by which to evaluate philosophies of social science and proposes novel solutions to social science's methodological and philosophical problems. He argues forcefully that a particular union of rationalism, realism, and systemism is the logical and viable philosophical stance for social science practitioners.
  

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Contents

Faa
15
Idea
47
Jnquiry
76
Systematization 08
108
From Explanation to Justification
135
Empirical Operations
166
Science et al
184
Values and Morals
219
Objective Study of Subjectivity
351
Scientific Realism
353
Between Reason and Fact Rational Choice Theory
359
Foundations of Rational Choice Theory
361
Five Versions of the Rationality Postulate
366
Maximizers or Survivors?
370
Subjective and Unconscious Rationality?
373
Instrumental Rationality
376

General Philosophy Problems in Social Science
241
Systemism
264
Idealism and Materialism
282
Intuitionism Empiricism Pragmatism and Rationalism
305
Pragmatism
317
Rationalism
320
RatioEmpiricism
322
Subjectivism and Realism
326
Subjectivism
330
Conventionalism
332
Social Constructivism
335
Relativism
338
Epistemological Hermeneutics
343
Objective and Subjective
346
Explanation by Reasons versus Explanation by Causes
377
Evaluation of the Rational Choice Approach
378
The Fatal Flaws of Rational Choice Theory
383
APPENDIXES
389
State Space Representation
391
Law and Rule
392
The Logic of Theory Operationalization
393
A Skeleton in the Closet of Rational Choice Theory
394
Futility Theory
397
Objective Value
399
References
401
Index of Names
421
Index of Subjects
427
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

Mario Bunge is the Frothingham Professor of Logic and Metaphysics at McGill University.

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