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This is just a brilliant book that demonstrates why much of the work done in the 'social sciences' (and the concept of a social science itself) is merely 'bad philosophy'. For any light that may be shed on human behaviour utilising scientific methods doesn't provide us with the understanding that we wish to gain. As Winch says, "It is not a question of what empirical research may show to be the case, but of what philosophical analysis reveals about what it makes sense to say. I want to show that the notion of a human society involves a scheme of concepts which is logically incompatible with the kinds of explanation offered in the natural sciences."
Review: The Idea of a Social Science: And Its Relation to PhilosophyUser Review - Tylor Lovins - Goodreads
Winch gives a Wittgensteinian critique of modern anthropology, and modern social sciences in general. His discussion on rule following makes this book important in and of itself. I think it's ... Read full review
actions activity analogous apply argument belong causal Chapter concerned connection consider context course criteria discussion elucidation empirical enquiry epistemology Ethology example experience experimental explanation expression fact following a rule Gilbert Ryle governed grasp Himalayas historical human behaviour human society ideas important instance intelligible interpretation investigation involves kind language learning Lewis Carroll logical Max Weber meaning meaningful behaviour Mill Mill's mistake mode of behaviour modes of social moral Morris Ginsberg motive Mount Everest natural science Newcomb non-logical notion Oakeshott objects observation ostensive definition Pareto particular PETER WINCH phenomena Philosophical Investigations philosophy of science possible predict presuppose priori problems propositions question reality reason religion Rush Rhees scientific scientist Section sense to say simply situation social relations social sciences social studies sociologist sociology someone sort speak statement Strawson suppose theories things tion true underlabourer conception understanding voted Labour Weber Wittgenstein's word
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