Value in Social Theory: A Selection of Essays on Methodology

By Gunnar Myrdal; Paul Streeten | Go to book overview

PART 1

CHAPTER ONE
INTERNATIONAL INTEGRATION 1

1THE PLACE OF VALUE PREMISES IN SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS

'E CONOMIC INTEGRATION' is a value-loaded term. It carries the-implication that the attainment of economic integration -- in some sense -- is desirable.

That a term is value-loaded is, even when used in scientific inquiry, not of itself a ground for objection. It has been a misguided endeavour in social science for a little more than a century to seek to make 'objective' our main value-loaded concepts by giving them a 'purely scientific' definition, supposedly free from any association with political valuations. To isolate them from such association, new and innocent- looking synonyms were often invented and substituted. On logical grounds, these attempts were doomed to failure. The load of valuations was not there without a purpose and a function, and they soon pierced through the strained 'purely scientific' definitions and even crept back into the specially fabricated synonyms.

There is no way of studying social reality other than from the viewpoint of human ideals. A 'disinterested social science' has never existed and, for logical reasons, cannot exist. The value connotation of our main concepts represents our interest in a matter, gives direction to our thoughts and significance to our inferences. It poses the questions without which there are no answers.

The recognition that our very concepts are value-loaded implies that they cannot be defined except in terms of political

____________________
1
Appendix from An International Economy, Problems and Prospects, pp. 336-340, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1956.

-1-

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Value in Social Theory: A Selection of Essays on Methodology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction ix
  • Part 1 1
  • Chapter Two - The Relation Between Social Theory and Social Policy 9
  • Part 2 55
  • Chapter Four - American Ideals and The American Conscience 65
  • Chapter Five - Valuations and Bbliefs 71
  • Chapter Six - Encountering the Negro Problem 89
  • Chapter Seven Facts and Valuations 119
  • Chapter Eight - Facets of the Negro Problem 165
  • Chapter Nine - The Principle of Cumulation 198
  • Part 3 206
  • Chapter Eleven - The Logical Crux of All Science 231
  • Postscript 237
  • Index 263
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