Changing Social Science

Critical Theory and Other Critical Perspectives

Edited by Daniel R. Sabia & Jerald Wallulis

Subjects: Sociology
Paperback : 9780873956802, 220 pages, June 1983
Hardcover : 9780873956796, 220 pages, June 1983

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Table of contents


The Contributors

Part One: Reflexivity

Chapter One  The Idea of a Critical Social Science

Daniel R. Sabia, Jr., and Jerald Wallulis

Chapter Two The Ontological Presuppositions and Political Consequences of a Social Science

Terence Ball

Chapter Three Mutual Knowledge

John O'Neill

Part Two: Method and Explanation

Chapter Four Fact and Method in the Social Sciences

Richard W. Miller

Chapter Five General Laws and Explaining Human Behavior

Brian Fay

Part Three: Criticism and Advocacy

Chapter Six The Critical Project of Jürgen Habermas

David R. Dickens

Chapter Seven Habermas on the Foundations of Ethics and Political Theory

Stephen K. White

Chapter Eight Political Ethics and Critical Theory

J. Donald Moon


Author Index

Subject Index


Changing Social Science is both a description of and prescription for the current unease in the social sciences. It brings together articles by philosophers, sociologists, and political scientists who advocate changing the way social science is conceived and practiced. Focusing on the thought of past and present critics and proponents of critical inquiry—especially on the critical theory of Jürgen Habermas and on the disciplines of political science and sociology—collaborators on this volume support a critical form of social and political inquiry, outline its main characteristics, and examine its foundations, options, and unresolved problems.

The book is divided into section on reflexivity, methodology and explanation, and criticism and advocacy. From an introductory overview of the collection of articles and an account of the central issues in critical inquiry, discussions ensue on the methodological inadequacies and political implications of naturalist approaches to social and political inquiry; the nature and foundations of interpretive approaches to social science; the role, nature, and limits of causal explanations and causal theories of human action; the role of values in research and theory; and defenses and criticisms of the normative aspirations of both Habermas's critical theory and of critical social science in general.

Daniel R. Sabia, Jr. is Assistant Professor, Department of Government and International Studies, at the University of South Carolina. Jerald T. Wallulis is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina.