Guest lecture: Pragmatism, pluralism, and the idea of a social science

Professor Patrick Thaddeus Jackson from American University, Washington, D.C. is visiting and will give his lecture "Pragmatism, pluralism, and the idea of a social science". 

For much of the past century, the social sciences have been caught between the "naturalist" insistence that they proceed just like the natural sciences are imagined to proceed, and the rival "anti-naturalist" rejection of systematic causal explanation in favor of the explication of social and cultural meaning. Both of these positions are fatally undermined by their misleadingly monolithic view of "science."

Against both naturalism and anti-naturalism, a pragmatic approach to the conduct of inquiry in the social sciences, which begins by accepting and affirming the irreducible plurality of ways of being scientific, provides a way forward that encompasses both causal and interpretive explanations without reducing either to the other. International studies, as a multi-disciplinary field investigating "the encounter with difference across boundaries," would benefit especially from an embrace of this kind of pragmatic approach.

Read more about Professor Patrick Thaddeus Jackson on his web page

Published Apr. 10, 2017 12:29 PM - Last modified Apr. 10, 2017 12:29 PM