Political Theory and Social Science: Cutting Against the by J. Gunnell

By J. Gunnell

This paintings is dedicated to a severe analytical exam of the historical past, personality, and behavior of latest educational political idea and to a reconsideration of important parts of this box of inquiry from the point of view of the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein.

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This, he suggested, could include such things as analyzing and clarifying the “ideas” and “values” embedded in “meaningful human action” and demonstrating the likelihood of attaining a certain end by a certain means (361). He argued that there were many ways in which empirical and normative claims were, and might be, connected, but these were contingent and ultimately depended on what at any particular point constituted the practical relationship between social science and politics. Weber argued that, in the conditions of modern society, responsibility for the act of choice in politics was not, and could not be, the “business” of science, but by doing such things as telling social actors what they potentially could do (and maybe even helping them reflect on what they actually wished to do) and by assessing the real and hypothetical consequences of their decisions and actions, social science might, if it carried authority, significantly constrain and guide practical decisions.

Gadamer and various strains of poststructuralism and postmodernism, that there was something beyond varieties of “presentist” history. This literature, which some would refer to as a scholarly “revolution” precipitated by the Cambridge school, was accompanied by its own epistemological agenda and rhetoric of inquiry. It claimed that it was preferable to its rivals because it deployed a method that yielded an objective recovery of the past and an authentic understanding of the texts and their authors.

Weber stressed that what, from the perspective of social science, constituted a social fact and valid knowledge could not be concluded outside the language of science. ” Otherwise, there would be a “chaos of ‘existential judgments’ with respect to innumerable individual judgments” (378). There were no facts that spoke for themselves 40 Political Theory and Social Science without being conceptualized in the language of social science, and significance was, in the last analysis, a function of the concerns of the social scientist, “for scientific truth is only valid for those who seek the truth,” which meant those who manifested the scientific spirit (383).

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