The Idea of a Social Science and Its Relation to Philosophy

The Idea of a Social Science and Its Relation to Philosophy

The Idea of a Social Science and Its Relation to Philosophy

The Idea of a Social Science and Its Relation to Philosophy

Synopsis

This classic text attempts to locate the social sciences on the intellectual map, utilizing the insights of Wittgenstein. Includes a new preface by the author.

Excerpt

My reason for declining the publisher’s invitation to revise this book before its next printing is certainly not that I wish to stand by every word that it contains, just as it is written. That would be hardly credible, and certainly not at all creditable, over thirty years after its original composition. But a revision of the existing text would require me to reoccupy the perspective that was mine when I wrote it; and I could not do that even if I wanted to. It is not that I think the deep-seated errors and confusions which I tried to expose are no longer active. But if I were going to tackle them now I should naturally wish to address them in the form they take in current thinking; and of course many things have changed both in philosophy and in the social sciences in the intervening years. I too have moved on a bit. And the interest in the nature and conditions of various forms of human understanding which was then expressed in this study of a certain prevalent conception of the social sciences has since taken me into rather different areas of enquiry. For such reasons and others a revision is not something I feel it would be profitable to undertake; whereas a rewriting of the whole book would take me away from other concerns which I find more immediately pressing. So I am writing this Preface to suggest some of the things I should want to say differently if I were rewriting the book.

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