In the introductory chapter we saw that the German economists made a distinction between the methodologies of the physical and social sciences. They accused the English economists of adopting physical science's methods which, in their view, were inadequate in explaining "historical reality" In this chapter I shall examine this issue in greater detail. In particular, I shall show that Pareto's contribution to the methodology of the social sciences lay in his realization that no logical distinction existed between the methodologies of the physical and social sciences. Hence, the methods used by physical scientists -- i.e., generalizing concepts -- were a valid source of scientific knowledge in the social sciences.
Before proceeding any farther, it might be worthwhile to distinguish between the meanings of the terms "methodology" and "method." The two terms are closely related and often confused. By "method" I mean the techniques or procedures used by researchers in their investigations. On the other hand, "methodology" involves the interpretation or "rationalization" of the procedures used by individuals in their investigations. We saw earlier that Comte attempted to "generalize" science. He aimed at creating a "philosophy of the sciences."1 Weber, too, attempted to "rationalize" the procedures of science, and raised the question: "what is the logical function and structure of the concepts which our science, like all others, uses?" In particular, "what is the significance of theory and theoretical____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Pareto's Methodological Approach to Economics:A Study in the History of Some Scientific Aspects of Economic Thought. Contributors: Vincent J. Tarascio - Author. Publisher: University of North Carolina Press. Place of publication: Chapel Hill, NC. Publication year: 1968. Page number: 85.