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A Realist Philosophy of Social Science: Explanation and Understanding Paperback – June 15, 2006
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Despite their protestations to the contrary, scientists have always been influenced, often to the detriment of their projects, by philosophy. In this timely volume Peter Manicas offers a systematic defence of scientific realism as the philosophical framework for the social sciences. Parallel to the way the natural sciences propose explanations by causal mechanisms, the social sciences should propose their own form of 'causality', active agents making use of systems of meaningful actions to accomplish their ends. In his comprehensive study of how the social sciences might be, Manicas works out this insight in various contexts with powerful effect. One can only hope that, at last, the spectre of naïve empiricism will finally be exorcised from the social sciences.--Horace R. Harre Distinguished Research Professor, Georgetown University
Neo-positivist, interpretive, and postmodernist social science are often seriously confused about fundamental issues of explanation, causation, interpretation, and understanding. Critical realism offers the best alternative account of the social scientific task and the most sensible resolution of our widespread confusions. Peter Manicas makes an important contribution to developing such a critical realist approach to social science that can help to re-orient our scholarly visions in smarter, more realistic, and fruitful directions. --Christian Smith Professor of Sociology, University of Notre Dame
It is easy to be enthusiastic about A Realist Philosophy of Science. The book is not only a comprehensive treatment of "explanation" in the social sciences but has the merit of being well written, factual, and informative. Manicas is the voice of wisdom and sanity in a field where positivistic assumptions regarding the nature of science often go unchallenged. --Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly