Now in its second edition, this comprehensive textbook offers an exceptionally accessible yet in-depth introduction to the philosophy of social science. Students with no previous knowledge will find themselves taken on an engaging philosophical journey: the book’s unique dialogue format anticipates their most frequently asked questions and provides clear explanations of specialised terminology and essential contextualisation of contemporary debates.
Encompassing both traditional and contemporary perspectives, the book explores the questions and debates raised by all the major theoretical positions in the philosophy of social science, including positivism, empiricism, rationalism, hermeneutics, feminist epistemology, postmodernism and critical realism.
The first edition of this book had a Eurocentric bias, as does virtually all other textbooks covering this subject matter. This has been corrected in the second edition and includes a new chapter on the contributions of Islam to philosophy, natural science social science including sociology. The second edition also has a newly written chapter on pragmaticism and neo-pragmaticism, as well as strengthened coverage of hermeneutics, postmodernism and critical realism.
The book‘s rich pedagogic support includes:
point-by-point summaries introducing the scope of every chapter;
- discussion questions;
- further reading lists;
- and a glossary of key terminology.
This excellent textbook is designed to provide every student with a clear understanding of important and complex issues. It is essential reading for all students of philosophy of social science, whether at undergraduate or Masters level and regardless of their disciplinary background.
Table of Contents
1st Edition Preface
2nd Edition Preface
- The Importance of Science and the Importance of Understanding What Science is
- Rationalism And Empiricism: Science’s Weak Foundations
- Positivism and its Problems: Seeing is not all There is to Believing
- Explanations of Social Scientific Understanding and Social Scientific Understandings of Natural Scientific Explanations
- Hermeneutics and Science: ‘The Linguistic Turn’
- Feminism and Science: A Woman’s Place is the More Objective Space
- Postmodernism: If You Say There Are No Right or Wrong Answers and I Say You’re Wrong, Am I Right … or Wrong?
- Islam and Science: The Stars on a Common Celestial Globe.
- Pragmatism and Neo-Pragmatism: Foundations of Anti-Foundationalism
- Hyperreality and Critical Realism, Simulacra and Social Science
Dr Garry Potter is a professor in the Faculty of Arts at Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada. He is also a documentary film-maker.