The Idea of a Social Science and Its Relation to Philosophy

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Routledge, 1990 - Social Science - 143 pages
4 Reviews
This classic text attempts to locate the social sciences on the intellectual map, utilizing the insights of Wittgenstein. Includes a new preface by the author.

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User Review  - BeeQuiet - LibraryThing

The Idea of a Social Science has become one of the seminal works in sociology. At the time of its publication, sociologists had by and large been fighting for the recognition of sociology as a true ... Read full review

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This is just a brilliant book that demonstrates why much of the work done in the 'social sciences' (and the concept of a social science itself) is merely 'bad philosophy'. For any light that may be shed on human behaviour utilising scientific methods doesn't provide us with the understanding that we wish to gain. As Winch says, "It is not a question of what empirical research may show to be the case, but of what philosophical analysis reveals about what it makes sense to say. I want to show that the notion of a human society involves a scheme of concepts which is logically incompatible with the kinds of explanation offered in the natural sciences."
I would recommend the third edition with the introduction by Raimond Gaita as it provides a very accessible overview of Winch's thesis.

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