This book, written by a philosopher interested in the problems of social science and scientific method, and a sociologist interested in the philosophy of science, presents a novel conception of how we should think about and carry out the scientific study of social life. This book combines an evaluation of different conceptions of the nature of science with an examination of important sociological theorists and frameworks. Originally published in 1975.
Part one Conceptions of science 1. Positivist philosophy of science 2. Realist philosophy of science 3. Forms of conventionalism Part two Conceptions of science as social theory 4. Sociology and positivism 5. Marx and realism 6. Structure and structuralism Part 3 Meaning and ideology 7. The explantion and understanding of social action 8. Reification and realism 9. Values theory and reality