This volume concerns philosophical issues that arise from the practice of anthropology and sociology. The essays cover a wide range of issues, including traditional questions in the philosophy of social science as well as those specific to these disciplines. Authors attend to the historical development of the current debates and set the stage for future work. · Comprehensive survey of philosophical issues in anthropology and sociology · Historical discussion of important debates · Applications to current research in anthropology and sociology
Bunge contends that social science research has fallen prey to a postmodern fascination with irrationalism and relativism. He urges social scientists to re-examine the philosophy and the methodology at the base of their discipline.
The Philosophy of Social Science: A Contemporary Introduction examines the perennial questions of philosophy by engaging with the empirical study of society. The book offers a comprehensive overview of debates in the field, with special attention to questions arising from new research programs in the social sciences. The text uses detailed examples of social scientific research to motivate and illustrate the philosophical discussion. Topics include the relationship of social policy to social science, interpretive research, action explanation, game theory, social scientific accounts of norms, joint intentionality, reductionism, causal modeling, case study research, and experimentation.
The source of endless speculation and public curiosity, our scientific quest for the origins of human consciousness has expanded along with the technical capabilities of science itself and remains one of the key topics able to fire public as much as academic interest. Yet many problematic issues, identified in this important new book, remain unresolved. Focusing on a series of methodological difficulties swirling around consciousness research, the contributors to this volume suggest that ‘consciousness’ is, in fact, not a wholly viable scientific concept. Supporting this ‘eliminativist‘ stance are assessments of the current theories and methods of consciousness science in their own terms, as well as applications of good scientific practice criteria from the philosophy of science. For example, the work identifies the central problem of the misuse of qualitative difference and dissociation paradigms, often deployed to identify measures of consciousness. It also examines the difficulties that attend the wide range of experimental protocols used to operationalise consciousness—and the implications this has on the findings of integrative approaches across behavioural and neurophysiological research. The work also explores the significant mismatch between the common intuitions about the content of consciousness, that motivate much of the current science, and the actual properties of the neural processes underlying sensory and cognitive phenomena. Even as it makes the negative eliminativist case, the strong empirical grounding in this volume also allows positive characterisations to be made about the products of the current science of consciousness, facilitating a re-identification of target phenomena and valid research questions for the mind sciences.
Patrick Baert analyses 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.
The emphasis on the realm of Science, Technology and Society or Science and Technology Studies may have the same degree of relevance that the “historical turn” had in the past. It is a “social turn” which affects philosophy of science as well as philosophy of technology. It includes a new vision of the aims, processes and results of scientific activities and technological doings, because the focus of attention is on several aspects of science and technology which used to be considered as secondary, or even irrelevant. This turn highlights science and technology as social undertakings rather than intellectual contents. According to this new vision, there are several important changes as to what should be studied the objects of research, how it should be studied the method and what the consequences for those studies are. The new focus of attention can be seen in many changes, and among them are several of special interest: a) from what science and technology are in themselves (mainly, epistemic contents) to how science and technology are made (largely, social constructions); b) from the language and structure of basic science to the characteristics of applied science and the applications of science; c) from technology as a feature through which human beings control their natural surroundings (a step beyond “technics” due to the contribution of science) to technology as a social practice and an instrument of power; and d) from the role of internal values necessary for “mature science” and “innovative technology” to the role of contextual or external values (cultural, political, economic ...) of science and technology. Wenceslao J. Gonzalez is professor of logic and philosophy of science at the University of A Coruña (Spain). He has been vicedean of the School of Humanities and president of the Committee of Doctoral Programs at the University. He has been a visting researcher at the Universities of St. Andrews, Münster and London (London School of Economics), as well as Visiting fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh. He has given lectures at the Universities of Pittsburgh, Stanford, Quebec and Helsinki. The conferences in which he has participated include those organized by the Universities of Uppsala, New South Wales, Bologne and Canterbury (New Zealand). He has edited 20 volumes and published 70 papers. He is the editor of the monographic issues on Philosophy and Methodology of Economics (1998) and Lakatos’s Philosophy Today (2001). His writings include “Economic Prediction and Human Activity. An Analysis of Prediction in Economics from Action Theory” (1994), “On the Theoretical Basis of Prediction in Economics” (1996), “Rationality in Economics and Scientific Predictions: A Critical Reconstruction of Bounded Rationality and its Role in Economic Predictions” (1997), “Lakatos’s Approach on Prediction and Novel Facts” (2001), “Rationality in Experimental Economics: An Analysis of R. Selten’s Approach” (2003), “From ErklärenVerstehen to PredictionUnderstanding: The Methodological Framework in Economics” (2003), and “The Many Faces of Popper’s Methodological Approach to Prediction” (2004).
Now in its second edition, this comprehensive textbook offers an exceptionally accessible yet in-depth introduction to the philosophy of social science. Students with no previous knowledge will find themselves taken on an engaging philosophical journey: the book’s unique dialogue format anticipates their most frequently asked questions and provides clear explanations of specialised terminology and essential contextualisation of contemporary debates. Encompassing both traditional and contemporary perspectives, the book explores the questions and debates raised by all the major theoretical positions in the philosophy of social science, including positivism, empiricism, rationalism, hermeneutics, feminist epistemology, postmodernism and critical realism. The first edition of this book had a Eurocentric bias, as does virtually all other textbooks covering this subject matter. This has been corrected in the second edition and includes a new chapter on the contributions of Islam to philosophy, natural science social science including sociology. The second edition also has a newly written chapter on pragmaticism and neo-pragmaticism, as well as strengthened coverage of hermeneutics, postmodernism and critical realism. The book‘s rich pedagogic support includes: point-by-point summaries introducing the scope of every chapter; discussion questions; further reading lists; and a glossary of key terminology. This excellent textbook is designed to provide every student with a clear understanding of important and complex issues. It is essential reading for all students of philosophy of social science, whether at undergraduate or Masters level and regardless of their disciplinary background.
As the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) has become more established, it has increasingly hidden its philosophical roots. While the trend is typical of disciplines striving for maturity, Steve Fuller, a leading figure in the field, argues that STS has much to lose if it abandons philosophy. In his characteristically provocative style, he offers the first sustained treatment of the philosophical foundations of STS and suggests fruitful avenues for further research. With stimulating discussions of the Science Wars, the Intelligent Design Theory controversy, and theorists such as Donna Haraway and Bruno Latour, Philosophy of Science and Technology Studies is required reading for students and scholars in STS and the philosophy of science.
“This is a splendid book, providing a readable and reliable guide to a very large range of topics and literature... the author brings together, as few of us can, the details of research methodology and practice with broader philosophical perspectives and approaches.” - William Outhwaite, Emeritus Professor, Newcastle University "We need researchers who are philosophically informed rather than philosophically obsessed or philosophically oppressed. With this book Malcolm Williams strikes the exact balance." - Ray Pawson, Emeritus Professor, University of Leeds This book is an ideal introduction for any student or social researcher hoping to better understand the philosophical issues that inform social research. Williams is the perfect guide providing short focused introductions to key concepts alongside a persuasive and engaging overview of how we interpret and conduct research. The book covers everything from core research methods, to ethical concerns and an exploration of the metaphysics of social life, with each entry providing: Clear definitions Engaging real world examples Up-do-date suggestions for further reading Informative cross-referencing Lists of key thinkers. Relevant and authoritative, this book is an indispensable introduction to the philosophy of social research.
It is argued that the conception of social science emerging today is one that involves a synthesis of radical constructivism and critical realism. The crucial challenge facing social science is a question of its public role: growing reflexivity in society has implications for the social production of knowledge and is bringing into question the separation of expert systems from other forms of knowledge.
The purpose of this book is to give a coherent account of the different perspectives on science and technology that are normally studied under various disciplinary heads such as philosophy of science, sociology of science and science policy. It is intended for students embarking on courses in these subjects and assumes no special knowledge of any science. It is written in a direct and simple style, and technical language is introduced very sparingly. As various perspectives are sketched out in this book, the reader moves towards a consistent conception of contemporary science as a rapidly changing social institution that has already grown out of its traditional forms and plays a central role in society at large. It will appeal to students in a wide range of scientific disciplines and complement well Professor Ziman's earlier books.
The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of the Social Sciences collects newly commissioned essays that examine fundamental issues in the social sciences.
A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were—and still are. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is that kind of book. When it was first published in 1962, it was a landmark event in the history and philosophy of science. Fifty years later, it still has many lessons to teach. With The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don’t arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation but that the revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of “normal science,” as he called it. Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age. This new edition of Kuhn’s essential work in the history of science includes an insightful introduction by Ian Hacking, which clarifies terms popularized by Kuhn, including paradigm and incommensurability, and applies Kuhn’s ideas to the science of today. Usefully keyed to the separate sections of the book, Hacking’s introduction provides important background information as well as a contemporary context. Newly designed, with an expanded index, this edition will be eagerly welcomed by the next generation of readers seeking to understand the history of our perspectives on science.
Pain research is still dominated by biomedical perspectives and the need to articulate pain in ways other than those offered by evidence based medical models is pressing. Examining closely subjective experiences of pain, this book explores the way in which pain is situated, communicated and formed in a larger cultural and social context. Dimensions of Pain explores the lived experience of pain, and questions of identity and pain, from a range of different disciplinary perspectives within the humanities and social sciences. Discussing the acuity and temporality of pain, its isolating impact, the embodied expression of pain, pain and sexuality, gender and ethnicity, it also includes a cluster of three chapters discusses the phenomenon and experience of labour pains. This volume revitalizes the study of pain, offering productive ways of carefully thinking through its different aspects and exploring the positive and enriching side of world-forming pain as well as its limiting aspects. It will be of interest to academics and students interested in pain from a range of backgrounds, including philosophy, sociology, nursing, midwifery, medicine and gender studies.
This is a much-needed new introduction to a field that has been transformed in recent years by exciting new subjects, ideas, and methods. It is designed both for students with central interests in philosophy and those planning to concentrate on the social sciences, and it presupposes no particular background in either domain. From the wide range of topics at the forefront of debate in philosophy of social science, the editors have chosen those which are representative of the most important and interesting contemporary work. A team of distinguished experts explore key aspects of the field such as social ontology (what are the things that social science studies?), objectivity, formal methods, measurement, and causal inference. Also included are chapters focused on notable subjects of social science research, such as well-being and climate change. Philosophy of Social Science provides a clear, accessible, and up-to-date guide to this fascinating field.
This is an accessible introduction to the philosophy of social research which relates philosophical ideas to actual research practice. The book makes effective use of illustrations from the UK, US and Europe to examine specific problems and broader issues. The book is intended for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in social research methods within sociology, social policy, politics, social psychology, human geography; philosophy of social science and social theory courses; and as a personal reference for professional researchers.
In recent decades, there has been a major shift in the way researchers process and understand scientific data. Digital access to data has revolutionized ways of doing science in the biological and biomedical fields, leading to a data-intensive approach to research that uses innovative methods to produce, store, distribute, and interpret huge amounts of data. In Data-Centric Biology, Sabina Leonelli probes the implications of these advancements and confronts the questions they pose. Are we witnessing the rise of an entirely new scientific epistemology? If so, how does that alter the way we study and understand life—including ourselves? Leonelli is the first scholar to use a study of contemporary data-intensive science to provide a philosophical analysis of the epistemology of data. In analyzing the rise, internal dynamics, and potential impact of data-centric biology, she draws on scholarship across diverse fields of science and the humanities—as well as her own original empirical material—to pinpoint the conditions under which digitally available data can further our understanding of life. Bridging the divide between historians, sociologists, and philosophers of science, Data-Centric Biology offers a nuanced account of an issue that is of fundamental importance to our understanding of contemporary scientific practices.
The (Expanded) Social Scientist's Bestiary addresses a number of important theoretical and philosophical issues in the social sciences from the perspective of contemporary philosophy of science. This expanded and revised edition contains four new chapters tackling such contemporary beasts as Popperian rules, narrative research, and various forms of constructivism. The chapters presented in this volume are, as far as possible, self-contained so that each chapter can be consulted without the necessity of having read the others, thus making this volume an invaluable guide for faculty members and graduate students in the whole of the social sciences and related applied fields.
Uses the story of the ozone layer to explore key issues in philosophy of science.
Choosing a research method can be bewildering. How can you be sure which methodology is appropriate, or whether your chosen combination of methods is consistent with the theoretical perspective you want to take? This book links methodology and theory with great clarity and precision, showing students and researchers how to navigate the maze of conflicting terminology. The major epistemological stances and theoretical perspectives that colour and shape current social research are detailed and the author reveals the philosophical origins of these schools of inquiry and shows how various disciplines contribute to the practice of social research as it is known today.