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Lecture 3

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Political Science
Todd Alway

Lecture 3 separate facts from values; if that cannot be done the scientific goal cannot be achieved the social world and natural/human world is not analogous  epistemological Political Science 3N06 2013 Lecture 2b: Are the social and natural worlds analogous? Does Meaning matter?  Is the social world analogous to the natural world? o I) The Scientist as a Human Being  Does it make a difference that scientists – whether in the natural or the social sciences  Are human beings?  Is it possible for someone saturated by the social world to step outside of that world and view it objectively?  Is the mind a (even potentially) blank tablet on which the world objectively writes itself?  For critics of the positivist approach, observation is mediated through experience, language, culture  The categories through which observation takes place are themselves saturated with pre-scientific assumptions  epistemological  humans have the capacity within the same stimuli  human agents change the model through social interaction o II) The Human Being as Agent Ontological  Are the natural and social worlds analogous at the level of what exists?  After all, unlike physical objects (rocks, trees, etc), social objects (democracy, capitalism, state) are constituted by self-conscious human agents  Agency means that human beings can act “differently under the same stimuli”  Social science itself can play a role in changing the social object it is studying by making agents aware of the conditions under which they live and giving them the ability to change their behaviour under those same conditions Interpretive Social Science  if we accept the differences of the two theories; there are some similarities o reality is not objective and not there  it is socially constructed  ideas structure our ideas what we do  conventions and norms matter  people act on the bases of their ideas and reality  there are epistemological and methodological implications  cannot stay on the out side, have to get a sense of the inside  we have to understand the social context; the external norms  have to understand the inside; questions  depends- subject to subject  The natural and social worlds are not analogous  Consequently, we cannot rely on the methods of the one to understand the other  Nature of social reality: o Reality is socially constructed o It does not pre-exist our norms, beliefs, culture o
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