The best Ebook The Idea of a So
The best Ebook The Idea of a Social Science: And Its Relation to Philosophy the best work First published in 1990 Routledge is an imprint of Taylor Francis, an informa company.. The best Kindle The Idea of a Social Science: And Its Relation to Philosophy An anthropologist friend of mine recently commented to me that Peter Winch's book challenged some premises dear to him early in his career (4 decades ago). So I was curious to see what Winch had had to say that was so disruptive to anthropology and other social sciences in the late 50s and throughout the 60s.As I will put it, Winch contends that the work of philosophy is to examine that which makes something intelligible within itself. By extension, he grants philosophy not only access to itself but to any other discipline. In the process, he takes notions of disciplines, fields, cultures, history, and all else as manifestations of their own nature. The nature of the physical sciences is contingent on cause and effect, consistency, and predictability but it is also contingent on the meaning of the terms cause and effect, consistency and predictability. Once those terms are agreed, anything that falls within them is ontologically scientific. Following Wittgenstein, Winch disputes the notion that social sciences are sciences as described just now. He posits that social phenomena are contingent on mutually reinforcing conceptualizations and practices that enable social beings to understand what they are doing and what will result. In other words, Winch distinguishes between scientific laws and social rules.This was a more earthshaking argument in the late 50s than today. For more than a hundred years, the humanities and evolving social sciences struggled to compete with science, achieving equal rigor and exactitude. But we know that is impossible because cultures establish their understandings of themselves in myriad ways that differ from the behavior of natural phenomena. That is to say a culture does not ripen and erupt the same way a volcano ripens and erupts. In fact, the words ripen and erupt suggest entirely different interpretations of that which is observed when applied to cultures and volcanoes.The social scientists wanted, and many still want, a statistical hermeneutic that would enable them to unlock the future of human experience. They would like to be able to understand and predict causes and effects with a certain degree of precision.Well, there is no reason not to continue seeking a key to all mythologies or a commonality of brain functions across 6 billion human beings, but Winch would say that that should be done in the context of rules that emerge out of contexts not laws that emerge out of physical phenomena. And he would go further, I suspect, to say there is no reason to be disappointed when the rules change in the social context versus the physical context.We can say that to be consistent is inconsistent with so-called human nature. And we can revel, perhaps, in the higher order of complexity human interaction bespeaks than the mysteries of atoms and volcanoes.