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Social Science,9780335217229
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Social Science



Pub. Date:
Open University Press
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What is social science? Does social scientific knowledge differ from other kinds of knowledge, such as the natural sciences and common sense? What is the relation between method and knowledge? This concise and accessible book provides a critical discussion and comprehensive overview of the major philosophical debates on the methodological foundations of the social sciences. From its origins in the sixteenth century, when a new system of knowledge was created around the idea of modernity, the author shows how the philosophy of social science developed as a reflection on some of the central questions in modernity. From the positivist dispute on explanation versus. understanding, to controversies about standpoint through to debates about constructivism and realism, Delanty outlines the major shifts in the philosophy of social science. He argues that social science is an intellectual framework for the transformation of the social world.This new edition is updated and expanded throughout with the latest developments in the field, including a new chapter on feminist standpoint epistemology, and additional material on neo-positivism, pragmatism, and reflexivity.This is one of the most ambitious and wide-ranging texts in recent years on debates on method and the contemporary situation of social science. It is of interest to undergraduate students and postgraduates as well as to professional researchers with an interest in the philosophy of the social sciences and social theory.

Author Biography

Gerard Delanty is a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition viii
Preface and Acknowledgements ix
Introduction: Challenges for Social Science 1(9)
1 Positivism, Science and the Politics of Knowledge 10(31)
2 Hermeneutics and Interpretation: The Search for Meaning 41(22)
3 The Dialectical Imagination: Marxism, Critique and Emancipation 63(18)
4 Communication and Pragmatism: Habermas, Apel and the Renewal of Critical Social Science 81(22)
5 Deconstructionism and Postmodernism: Implications of the Cultural Turn 103(16)
6 Return of the Actor: The Reflexive Turn and Feminist Standpoint Epistemology 119(17)
7 Constructivism and Realism 136(17)
8 Social Science and Public Discourse 153(21)
Bibliography 174(15)
Index 189

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