First published in 1973, this book is concerned with the question of whether Sociology is, or ought to be, a theoretical science. Keith Dixon argues that the pretence to the theoretical is a hindrance to the development of the field of Sociology, which devalues significant empirical work by giving status to research findings only in so far as they relate to often arbitrary theoretical concerns. Dixon addresses the historical dimension in the explanation of human nature and rational action. This reissue will be of particular value to students and academics with an interest in the empirical and theoretical methodology applied to Sociological research.
Preface; Acknowledgements; 1. Ordinary language and theoretical explanations: Ordinary language explanations; The construction of a data-language: behaviourism; The logic of successful theory 2. Matching the physical science paradigm: Cause and generality; The failure of sociology theory: a priori or contingent? 3. Casual explanation and rational action: The argument that causal accounts of human behaviour are ruled out a priori; Rational action 4. An alternative conceptualisation: voluntaristic action theory: The action frame of reference; The definition of action 5. Bringing history back in: laws and the explanation of human action: Uniqueness and contingency; Concluding remarks; Notes; Index
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