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Peter Winchs The Idea of a Social Science and Its Relation to Philosophy - Essay Example

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Peter Winch’s "The Idea of a Social Science and Its Relation to Philosophy". Winch has been regarded as a enthusiastic and fervent supporter of the relevance of philosophy in order to understand the ‘society’ in its entirety and he challenged the arguments of people who considered it as an extraneous ‘ivory towers’ pursuit. …
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Peter Winchs The Idea of a Social Science and Its Relation to Philosophy
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Download file to see previous pages According to the scholars on the topic of social science, this subject of study has been slow to imitate the natural sciences and liberate from the dead hand of philosophy and this has resulted in the slow growth of this branch of study. They maintain that it is important for the social science to follow the methods of natural science rather than those of philosophy if it should make some significant progress. The main purpose of Peter Winch is "to attack such a conception of the relation between the social studies, philosophy and the natural sciences." (Winch, 1958, p 1). According to Peter Winch, a successful social science in general and sociology in particular would more nearly resemble literacy criticism than physics and other physical sciences and he provides several justifications for his claim all through his book. Winch's justification of his claim becomes evident in a reflective analysis of his distinctions between and among 'understanding and explanation,' 'motives, reasons, and causes,' and the difference between the sociologist's and the physical scientist's relation to the phenomena that they investigate (the 'subject matter' of the social sciences), and this paper undertakes an analysis of these aspects of the book along with a summary.

In his The Idea of a Social Science and Its Relation to Philosophy Winch...
cience in general and sociology in particular would more nearly resemble literacy criticism than physics and other physical sciences and he provides the central core of his argument under the title 'Understanding Social Institutions.' He maintains that 'understanding' is more essential phenomenon than 'explaining' and it clarifies his major arguments. According to him, it is essential to use the term 'understanding' rather than explaining, though he does not mean to allude to the distinction made by Webber between 'casual explanation' and interpretive understanding'. "The point I have in mind is a rather different one. Methodologists and philosophers of science commonly approach their subject by asking what the character of the explanations offered is in the science under consideration. Now of course explanations are closely connected with understanding. Understanding is the goal of explanation and the end-product of successful explanation Unless there is a form of understanding that is not the result of explanation, no such thing as explanation would be possible. An explanation is called for only where there is, at least thought to be, a deficiency of understanding." (Winch, 1990, p X). Winch considers 'understanding' as the standard against which the deficiency of the knowledge must be measured and this calls for explanation. The understanding one already has is expressed in the concepts which constitute the form of subject matter that one is concerned with. On the other hand, these concepts also express certain aspects of the life characteristic of the people who apply them. The interconnections among these aspects are the major subject of explanation in the book by Winch.
It is also vital to understand the connections among concepts such as motives, reasons, and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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