New Philosophy of Social Science
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New Philosophy of Social Science

Problems of Indeterminacy

By James Bohman

Overview

Author(s)

Praise

Summary

Under the influence of postempiricism, the philosophy of science has changed enormously in recent years. New Philosophy of Social Science provides a clear and useful overview of the new synthesis that has taken place. Bohman argues for a theoretical and methodological pluralism grounded in an account of the nature of the objects of social theory, which are necessarily indeterminate and open ended: the new, postempiricist philosophy of social science "must find rigor within indeterminacy." Bohman's position, that you can start from actual practices in the social sciences, accept the fact that they will always contain indeterminacy and ambiguity, and yet be able to construct viable norms, is buttressed by a number of case studies. These include examples drawn from rational choice theory, ethnomethodology, and the theory of communicative action. In the process, Bohman describes the status of such issues as causality, rules, interpretation, holism, and social criticism. The argument is not tied to a specific theoretical point of view, although it takes the program of the Frankfurt School as an indication of the path toward a proper philosophy of the social sciences.

Hardcover

Out of Print ISBN: 9780262023436 280 pp. | 9 in x 6 in

Paperback

Out of Print ISBN: 9780262521833 280 pp. | 9 in x 6 in

For sale only in the US and Canada.

Endorsements

  • This book is without equal in reflecting the actual state of debate in the various social sciences. The wide range of issues considered and the reliance on case studies from the actual practice of social inquiry make this the best available text on the subject.

    Thomas McCarthy

    Northwestern University

  • A first-rate overview of and contribution to contemporary debates in the philosophy of the social sciences.... Like philosophers of natural science, Bohman places more emphasis than his predecessors on careful examination of successful research, more emphasis on what presuppositions researchers bring to their work, and less emphasis on demarcating 'good' from 'bad' science by appeal to first principles.... Highly recommended for advanced undergraduate and graduate students.

    Choice

  • This book is without equal in reflecting the actual state of debate in the various social sciences. Avoiding the usual oversimplifications, it deals with the principal explanatory and interpretive strategies in all of their heterogeneity and complexity. Among its many other virtues, Bohman's approach is postempiricist without being sceptical; it attends to historical and social context while remaining normative in orientation. The wide range of issues considered and the reliance on case studies from the actual practice of social inquiry make this the best available text on the new philosophy of the social sciences. It certainly is the one I shall choose.

    Thomas McCarthy

    Professor of Philosophy, Northwestern University