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Philosophy of social science and some problem - Essay Example

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Cogito ergo sum: I think therefore I am". (Descartes 1596-1650). The desire to seek knowledge and understanding is essential for human existence. The quest for knowledge is an end in itself as well as means at arriving at the truth. Truth is a subjective interpretation; however objective and verifiable fact can be an objective entity and reality…
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Philosophy of social science and some problem
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Download file to see previous pages Let us now examine Society, which is a sum total of individuals, interacting in finite space in infinite variety of ways. To understand the complex society by using empirically observable objectivity is perhaps the core objective of social science. To rationally explain the complexity of derivatives that individual interactions create in society is the unsaid mandate of Social Science. Therefore Social Science may be defined as " the rational and systematic study of human society in all its forms with the aim of arriving at an enduring understanding, acknowledged as such by a broad consensus of researchers, of social phenomenon" (Meyer.1999). In examining the philosophy of Social Science, we will attempt to probe behind the veil and look at the core of the belief system which governs, regulates and defines the structure of knowledge emanating from this branch of Human inquiry.
Rationality forms the primary percept of philosophy of Social Science. The 'rationalistic view of knowledge is based on reason and reflection' (Johannessen & Olaisen.2005), wherein empirically and objectively verifiable observation is articulated and cast in to paradigms and theories. We would now like to refer to the debate between naturalist and anti-naturalists which form the overall competing academic groups (ibid) within the philosophy of social science. ...
Systemic approach however seeks to view the social world as system comprising of sub-systems and an 'epistemology combining realism and reason, aiming to understand, predict and control' (Johannessen. 1997, quoted in Johannessen & Olaisen.2005), an attempted blending of objectivity, subjectivity and intersubjectivity.
The Naturalist position sharing the 'disregard for subjective experience'; is constructed on the following four pillars:
1. Empiricism
2. Positivism & neo-Positivism (Vienna Circle)
3. Realism
4. Rationalism (Karl Popper)
(Bunge.1996 quoted in Johannessen & Olaisen.2005 )
Empiricists base their argument on a presumptive bias, that 'it is only perception which provides the knowledge' (Turner.1991 quoted in Johannessen & Olaisen.2005). They have a dogmatic view that knowledge is experience and subsequent reflection on and about it. The primary concern is observable.
The Positivists and neo-Positivist emanated from Vienna School (1926-1936). These 'Logical Empiricists' focused on empirical testability, verifiable data and induction. They don't recognize non-linear causative factors like emotions etc. and term them as unscientific and out of scientific context (Von Wright. 1971quoted in Johannessen & Olaisen.2005). It was an attempt to introduce mathematical precision in the realm of imprecise social knowledge. Neo-Positivists based their epistemology on Instrumental Rationality.
Realism 'is an epistemological doctrine that knowledge attempts to represents reality' (Bunge.1981, p. IX ). Realism has further branched off in to Nave Realism, Critical Realism and Scientific Realism (Johannessen & Olaisen.2005).
Rationalism's most important sub-doctrine is Methodological Individualism, which states that social ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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