The Idea of a Social Science and Its Relation to Philosophy

Author(s): Peter Winch

Routledge Classics

In the fiftieth anniversary of this book’s first release, Winch’s argument remains as crucial as ever. Originally published in 1958, The Idea of a Social Science and Its Relation to Philosophywas a landmark exploration of the social sciences, written at a time when that field was still young and had not yet joined the Humanities and the Natural Sciences as the third great domain of the Academy. 

A passionate defender of the importance of philosophy to a full understanding of 'society' against those who would deem it an irrelevant 'ivory towers' pursuit, Winch draws from the works of such thinkers as Ludwig Wittgenstein, J.S. Mill and Max Weber to make his case. In so doing he addresses the possibility and practice of a comprehensive 'science of society'.


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Preface to the Second Edition I. PHILOSOPHICAL BEARINGS 1. Aims and Strategy 2. The Underlabourer Conception of Philosophy 3. Philosophy and Science 4. The Philosopher's Concern with Language 5. Conceptual and Empirical Enquiries 6. The Pivotal Role of Epistemology in Philosophy 7. Epistemology and the Understanding of Society 8. Rules: Wittgenstein's Analysis 9. Some Misunderstandings of Wittgenstein II. THE NATURE OF MEANINGFUL BEHAVIOUR 1. Philosophy and Sociology 2. Meaningful Behaviour 3. Activities and Precepts 4. Rules and Habits 5. Reflectiveness III. THE SOCIAL STUDIES AS SCIENCE 1. J.S. Mill's "Logic of the Moral Sciences" 2. Differences in Degree and Differences in Kind 3. Motives and Causes 4. Motives, Dispositions and Reasons 5. The Investigation of Regularities 6. Understanding Social Institutions 7. Prediction in the Social Studies IV. THE MIND AND SOCIETY 1. Pareto: Logical and Non-Logical Conduct 2. Pareto: Residues and Derivations 3. Max Weber: "Verstehen" and Causal Explanation 4. Max Weber: Meaningful Action and Social Action V. CONCEPTS AND ACTIONS 1. The Internality of Social Relations 2. Discursive and Non-Discursive 'Ideas' 3. The Social Sciences and History 4. Concluding Remark Bibliography Index

General Fields

  • : 9780415423588
  • : Routledge
  • : Routledge
  • : 0.177
  • : January 2008
  • : 198mm X 129mm X 15mm
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : 136