The readings will be both thorough and intense, covering many primary and secondary sources. The following list provides some idea of the range of topics and authors to be addressed in this seminar.
- A framework for a philosophical inquiry into the social sciences: ontology, epistemology, methodology;
- The early Rationalists: that metaphysician Plato and the doubting Descartes;
- The traditional Empiricists: the inductivist Bacon and the skeptical Hume;
- Kant's reconciliation of rationalism and empiricism;
- Hegel's system: the juggernaut of the World Spirit marching through history;
- Marx's concept of praxis stands Hegel on his head;
- The interpretive approaches of Dilthey, Windelband, and Weber;
- The Logical Positivists of the Vienna Circle: the quest(ion) for a unified science of nature AND society;
- The scientific community responds: the falsifiability of Popper and the paradigm shifts of Kuhn;
- How is "meaningfulness" possible in an Age of Science? The phenomenology of Husserl and Schutz;
- The Frankfurt School(s): Horkheimer's research program and Habermas's (re-)Enlightenment project;
- Language as an ingress into meaning: Wittgenstein, Quine, Winch;
- The pragmatists and their anti-foundationalism: Pierce, James, Dewey, Rorty
- Postmodernists besiege Grand Theory and ethnocentrism: E. Said, Foucault, Lyotard, feminist theories; and
- Conclusions--a summing up and an invitation: (how) is social science still possible?