PHL 472-B01

45873 PHL472-B01 Philosophy of Social Science – **Web Registered** 4.000 M MTWR 10:25 am – 12:05 pm Fawcett 101 David M. Orenstein


Sun Tsu: The Art of War

Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Women & Economics

  • Intro
  • preliminary definintion
  • on taking a philosphical approach
  • reflections on Harriet Martineau’s How to observe morals and manners (1837)
  • Non-European anticipations of social science
  • Greek pagan & Judeo-Xtian roots

Strands of social science thought

  • Hegelian tradition
  • French “realist” tradition (Comte)
  • psycholigical reductionism
  • Machiavellian trad
  • Boasian trad & concept of  “culture”
  • [identity and social science trad]
  • American ameliorative trad


  • What is social science?
    • preliminary definition, science has 3 characteristics:
      • naturalistic – concerned with this-worldly explanation
      • empirical – accepts or rejects explnanations based on systematic observation
      • generalizing – concerned with knowledge that is widely applicable
    • science is social when concerned with interaction and mutual influence of humans/groups
    • among the social sciences are cultural anthro, sociology, social psychology, political science & economics
    • by the prelim def. the field of history may or may not be a social science depending on the extent that it is comparative and attempts general explanations
    • also by this def., social work (admin. emphasis) wld generally not be considered a social science
  • Why take a philosophical approach?
  • reflections on Harriet Martineau
  • non-European anticipations
  • Gk. pagan & JX roots
  • 6 strands
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