'Science' in the Social Sciences

10. Summary

In this chapter we discussed the social sciences as they pertain to the objective of the causal explanation of types of human conduct. To do so, we considered the relevance of logical analyses (Wittgenstein) to some central methodological issues in sociology and other social sciences.

Ultimately, sociological and other social-scientific work has to be judged on its intrinsic merits (of rigor, of originality, of cogency, and of many other virtues and values), such that debates like those which Peter Winch initiated over half a century ago can be set aside.

Striving to attain some ideal of "scientificity" has become less of a noble objective and, where it still persists, more of a shibboleth. Good, interesting, insightful, productive, rigorous work can be judged for what it is without our having to ask (and re-ask) the question – yes, but is it SCIENCE?