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Realism and Social Science offers the reader an authoritative and compelling guide to critical realism and its implications for social theory and for the practice of social science. It offers an alternative both to approaches which are overly confident about the possibility of a successful social science and those which are defeatist about any possibility of progress in understanding the social world. Written by one of the leading social theorists in the field, it demonstrates the virtues of critical realism for theory and empirical research in social science, and provides a critical engagement with leading non-realist approaches.
Realism and Social Science offers the reader an authoritative and compelling guide to critical realism and its implications for social theory and for the practice of social science. It offers an alternative both to approaches which are overly confident about the possibility of a successful social science and those which are defeatist about any possibility of progress in understanding the social world. Written by one of the leading social theorists in the field, it demonstrates the virtues of critical realism for theory and empirical research in social science, and provides a critical engagement with leading non-realist approaches.
In its second edition, Method in Social Science was widely praised for its penetrating analysis of central questions in social science discourse. This revised edition comes with a new preface and a full bibliography. The book is intended for students and researchers familiar with social science but having little or no previous experiences of philosophical and methodological discussion, and for those who are interested in realism and method.
John Henry Schlegel recovers a largely ignored aspect of American Legal Realism, a movement in legal thought in the 1920s and 1930s that sought to bring the modern notion of empirical science into the study and teaching of law. In this book, he explores individual Realist scholars' efforts to challenge the received notion that the study of law was primarily a matter of learning rules and how to manipulate them. He argues that empirical research was integral to Legal Realism, and he explores why this kind of research did not, finally, become a part of American law school curricula. Schlegel reviews the work of several prominent Realists but concentrates on the writings of Walter Wheeler Cook, Underhill Moore, and Charles E. Clark. He reveals how their interest in empirical research was a product of their personal and professional circumstances and demonstrates the influence of John Dewey's ideas on the expression of that interest. According to Schlegel, competing understandings of the role of empirical inquiry contributed to the slow decline of this kind of research by professors of law. Originally published in 1995. A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.
This cutting edge collection of new and previously published articles by philosophers and social scientists addresses just what it means to invoke causal mechanisms, or powers, in the context of offering a causal explanation. A unique collection, it offers the reader various disciplinary and inter-disciplinary divides, helping to stake out a new, neo-Aristotelian position within contemporary debate.
In recent years, methodological debates in the social sciences have increasingly focused on issues relating to epistemology. Realism and Sociology makes an original contribution to the debate, charting a middle ground between postmodernism and positivism. Critics often hold that realism tries to assume some definitive account of reality. Against this it is argued throughout the book that realism can combine a strong definition of social reality with an anti-foundational approach to knowledge. The position of realist anti-foundationalism that is argued for is developed and defended via the use of immanent critiques. These deal primarily with post-Wittgensteinian positions that seek to define knowledge and social reality in terms of 'rule-following practices' within different 'forms of life' and 'language games'. Specifically, the argument engages with Rorty's neo-pragmatism and the structuration theory of Giddens. The philosophy of Popper is also drawn upon in a critically appreciative way. While the positions of Rorty and Giddens seek to deflate the claims of 'grand theory', albeit in different ways, they both end up with definitive claims about knowledge and reality that preclude social research. By avoiding the general deflationary approach that relies on reference to 'practices', realism is able to combine a strong social ontology with an anti-foundational epistemology, and thus act as an underlabourer for empirical research.

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