An Introduction To The Philosophy Of Social Research (Social by M. Williams

By M. Williams

This is often an obtainable advent to the philosophy of social examine which relates philosophical rules to real study perform. The booklet makes potent use of illustrations from the united kingdom, US and Europe to check particular difficulties and broader matters. The ebook is meant for undergraduate and postgraduate classes in social study tools inside sociology, social coverage, politics, social psychology, human geography; philosophy of social technological know-how and social thought classes; and as a private reference for pro researchers.

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I have seen Paris; but shall I affirm I can form such an idea of that city, as will perfectly represent all its streets and houses in their real and just proportions? (Hume 1911:13). On the face of it, the assertion that we discover things by seeing, hearing, touching, smelling or tasting them seems unremarkable. How else could we come to know the world? On the other hand, the claim that reliable knowledge is derived from sense impressions depends on the assumption that we all use our senses in the same way.

To what extent the former “deterministic” view of science was the result of “rational” processes and to what extent it was a socially held convention, is now a matter of debate. Paul Feyerabend went even further than Kuhn in claiming that historical, sociological and psychological factors determined how science progressed. His own reading of the history of science led him to conclude that the case studies examined speak against the universal validity of any rule. All methodologies have their limitations and the only rule that survives is anything goes (Feyerabend 1978:295–6.

The problem is if we cannot admit of theories, such as those about Black Holes, because they are metaphysical, then we will never test them simply because we rejected them in the first place! This latter issue is closely connected to a further problem. This concerns the logical positivist need to separate the language of observation from the language of theory. The language of observation must be neutral and “uncorrupted” by theory, if the verification principle is to hold. This can be illustrated by a simple example.

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