A critical perspective on a critical perspective on social science

Metascience 24 (3):457-461 (2015)
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Abstract

Yoshida considers two broad understandings of how social scientists can and should “describe and explain other cultures or their aspects under concepts of rationality” . In the one corner is a family of approaches that Yoshida finds deeply flawed: cultural interpretivist approaches. Five authors representative of this family are given fine chapter length examinations: Winch, Taylor, Geertz, Sahlins, and Obeyesekere. In the other corner is Yoshida’s favored approach: critical rationalism. This approach is associated with the intellectual descendants of Karl Popper—notably Jarvie and Agassi. It is presented in outline and treated as the clear winner. By virtue of not having the defects that are diagnosed in the interpretivist approaches, critical rationalism is presented as the fitting approach in the social sciences. This dialectical structure has two notable weaknesses: First, showing that one item, A, lacks the problems found in another item, B, should not be take ..

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David Henderson
University of Warwick

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