Many believe that social science is not possible. Consider the riposte of Georg Simmel.
Human sciences includes decision-making, novel and recurrent events in social reality, and meaning and reflexivity. Weber asserts that replicable causal analysis is possible in social science. Science cannot validate value judgments, but can produce a cost benefit analysis of actions; the Battle of Marathon is an example of causality.
Social action is any action that refers to another individual or group. Weber asserts two types of understanding and explanation. Ontology is at the center of the differences between Weber and Emile Durkheim.
Consider the statement, twins are birds; cultural relativism has two distinct aspects. Winch argues that social rules, rather than laws, govern human society and that science and rationality are cultural constructions of the West. The linguistic turn marks a change in the emphasis and orientation of social sciences.
Jean-Francois Lyotard believes society no longer believes in grand narratives. Jean Baudrillard argues that people live in "hyper-reality"; there are four stages of images.
Credits: Part 2: Causality and Relativism in Human Sciences
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The program begins with first a look at positivist social science and then interpretivist critiques of it. It examines the difficulty but also the possibility of providing causal analysis in social science. It uses Weber’s arguments and the assertion “One need not be Caesar in order to understand Caesar” as one pole of the debate while considering Peter Winch’s argument and the Nuer tribe’s, incomprehensible to us, statement “twins are birds” to show the extreme difficulty of ever truly understanding other cultures. The program closes with a consideration of epistemological relativism from an entirely different perspective: postmodernism.
Length: 32 minutes
Copyright date: ©2018
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