In this ground-breaking new text, Patrick Baert analyzes the central perspectives in the philosophy of social science, critically investigating the work of Durkheim, Weber, Popper, critical realism, critical theory, and Rorty's neo pragmatism. This book places key writers in their social and political contexts, helping to make their ideas meaningful to students. It shows how these authors' views have practical uses in empirical research. It presents lively approach that makes complex ideas understandable to upper-level students, as well as having scholarly appeal.
Patrick Baert is University Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge
Acknowledgements. Introduction. Chapter 1. Emile Durkheim's naturalism. Introduction. An uneasy relationship with positivism. How to be a proper sociologist. Application: the study of suicide. Evaluation. Further reading. Bibliography. Chapter 2. Max Weber's interpretative method. Introduction. Transcending the Methodenstreit. Ideal types and different types of action. Application: the Protestant Ethic. Evaluation. Further reading. Bibliography. Chapter 3. Karl Popper's falsificationism. Introduction. What science is about. The controversy with Kuhn. How to make social science scientific. The problem with historicism and utopianism. Methodological individualism. Evaluation. Further reading. Bibliography. Chapter 4. Critical realism. The realist bandwagon. Realism, reality and causality. Creative scientists at work. Contributions to social theory. Application: British politics. Evaluation. Further reading. Bibliography. Chapter 5. Critical Theory. Introduction. The Early Frankfurt School. Jurgen Habermas. Further reading. Bibliography. Chapter 6. Richard Rorty and Pragmatism. Introduction. American pragmatism and Rorty. The myth of scientific method. The new left and the cultural left. Evaluation. Further reading. Bibliography. Chapter 7. A Pragmatist philosophy of the social sciences. Outline of a pragmatist view. Cultural anthropology. Archaeology. History and social sciences. Some concluding remarks. Notes. References and Bibliography. Index