Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Philosophy of Social Sciences
The philosophy of social sciences seeks to understand the nature of the study of human behavior and social relations. It is consequently a metatheoretical endeavor—a theory about theories of social life. To achieve their end, philosophers of social science investigate both social science as it is practiced, as well as the nature of those studied by the social sciences, namely, human beings themselves, in an attempt to discern the appropriate logic of inquiry for this area of study. The philosophy of social sciences can be broadly descriptive (unearthing the fundamental conceptual tools in social science and relating them to the tools employed in other human endeavors), prescriptive (recommending that a certain approach be adopted by the social sciences so that they can accomplish what the recommender thinks social science ought to accomplish), or some combination of these. Because the philosophy of social sciences addresses an enterprise with enormous political Historically, ...