Philosophy of the Social Sciences: Towards Pragmatism

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9780745622460: Philosophy of the Social Sciences: Towards Pragmatism

In this ground-breaking new text, Patrick Baert analyses the central perspectives in the philosophy of social science, critically investigating the work of Durkheim, Weber, Popper, critical realism, critical theory, and Rorty's neo pragmatism.


  • Places key writers in their social and political contexts, helping to make their ideas meaningful to students.
  • Shows how these authors’ views have practical uses in empirical research.
  • Lively approach that makes complex ideas understandable to upper-level students, as well as having scholarly appeal.

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From the Back Cover:

In this ground-breaking new text, Patrick Baert analyses the central perspectives in the philosophy of social science, critically investigating the work of Durkheim, Weber, Popper, critical realism, critical theory, and Rorty's neo pragmatism. His lively account places key intellectual figures within the social and political contexts in which they were writing, and clearly shows how their views translated into empirical research.

In the final chapter, Baert sets out his own pragmatist perspective on the potential of social research for critique, arguing that it can help researchers learn as much about their own presuppositions as their subjects of study. Philosophy of Social Science: Towards Pragmatism is both an authoritative textbook, and an original proposal for an exciting new research agenda.

This lively textbook will be helpful to upper-level students looking for a detailed and yet lucid account of the main positions in the philosophy of social science. It will also appeal to those researchers who are sympathetic towards the pragmatist view that knowledge has the potential to increase the scope of human possibility.

About the Author:

Patrick Baert is University Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge

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