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

Excerpt

That the social sciences are in their infancy has come to be a platitude amongst writers of textbooks on the subject. They will argue that this is because the social sciences have been slow to emulate the natural sciences and emancipate themselves from the dead hand of philosophy; that there was a time when there was no clear distinction between philosophy and natural science; but that owing to the transformation of this state of affairs round about the seventeenth century natural science has made great bounds ever since. But, we are told, this revolution has not yet taken place in the social sciences, or at least it is only now in process of taking place. Perhaps social science has not yet found its Newton but the conditions are being created in which such a genius could arise.But above all, it is urged, we must follow the methods of natural science rather than those of philosophy if we are to make any significant progress.

I propose, in this monograph, to attack such a conception of the relation between the social studies, philosophy and the natural sciences. But it should not be assumed on that account that what I have to say . . .

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