This thoughtful and well-informed book casts a great deal of light on the "social science wars": an often fierce struggle over methods and techniques which also reflects profound differences in philosophy among social scientists. Topper shows how close argument and imaginative sympathy can carry the debate forward. This is a lucid and engaging book, full of important insights about the ways in which we try to study society. (Charles Taylor, author of Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity
This book addresses the persisting "crisis" in political and social science and charts a way out of it. In the context of the latest round of debates about method, it revisits such abiding general questions as the unity or disunity between the natural and social sciences; the peculiar character of social scientific inquiry; the relationship between social science and political practice; and the entanglement of method and power. Topper negotiates his way through this thicket of issues with intelligence and clarity, and in doing so he provides us with many valuable insights into the contemporary situation of political inquiry. (Thomas A. McCarthy, Northwestern University)
This is a much-needed book that negotiates its way with great intelligence through a variety of difficult issues in the philosophy of the social sciences. (Stephen White, The University of Virginia)
About the Author
Keith Topper is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Political Science at Northwestern University.