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A History and Philosophy of the Social Sciences



A History and Philosophy of the Social Sciences

Peter T. Manicas

ISBN: 978-0-631-16583-5 January 1991 Wiley-Blackwell 356 Pages


This ambitious critical history of the variety of disciplines we group together as the social sciences argues that the defining characteristic of social science, both historically and in the present, is ideology. Based originally on a flawed ideal of science, the 'social sciences' have incorporated and refined a set of assumptions about the nature of state and society, assumptions which have been institutionalized with the growth of modern universities.

The book is in three main parts. It deals firstly with the history of certain key ides from the early modern period (assessing thinkers from Hobbes and Marx to Hegel, Weber, and Kuhn), before exploring the institutional and social features which have shaped the emergence of modern social science. Manicas goes on to reveal the ideological component of mainstream social science, concluding by suggesting and alternative realist philosophy for the future.

Rigorous in scholarship and engaging in presentation, the book offers a brilliant combination of wide-ranging historical scholarship and a firm location in the current theoretical dilemmas of the social sciences.
Acknowledgements vi

Author's Note viii

Part I The Critical Ideas

Introduction 3

1 Science and Philosophy 7

2 Of the Commonwealth 24

3 The Emergence of Political Economy 37

4 Progress: The Laws of Development 53

5 The German Conception of History: Herder or Hegel? 73

6 Scientific Socialism: Marxian Dialectics 97

7 From Ranke to Max Weber 117

8 Economy and Society: The Sociology of Pareto and Durkheim 141

9 The Genesis of Psychology 168

Part II The Modern Social Sciences

10 Capitalism, Science, and the University 193

11 The Americanization of Social Science 213

Part III Realist Philosophy of Social Science

12 The Critique of Empiricism 241

13 A Realist Social Science 266

14 Psychology: Theoretical and Applied 294

Bibliography 319

Index 336