By Ernest Gellner
This quantity makes a speciality of key conceptual concerns within the social sciences, akin to Winch's proposal of a social technology, structuralism, Malinowski and Evans-Pritchard, and the idea that of kinship. particularly it offers with such difficulties because the courting of nature and tradition, the relevance of suggestions drawn from inside a given society to its realizing, and the relation of thought to time.
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About the Author
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Additional resources for Cause and Meaning in the Social Sciences (Selected Philosophical Themes)
And though he may in some cases account in some way for the social facts in terms of the interaction of individual decisions with prior ‘social facts,’ any attempt to eliminate these altogether will only lead to a regress and possibly to an irrelevant genetic question of the hen-and-egg kind. The important thing about ‘hen-and-egg’ is not that we do not know, but that if we did know it would not throw much light on either hens or eggs. It might be objected that too much is being made of this matter of causation.
They are well aware…of the dangers of concentrated power. But they deny that the only choice open to us is between a spontaneous competitive order on one hand, and a system of all-pervading control on the other. ”’ Op. , pp. 161–2. Watkins, ‘Ideal Types and Historical Explanation,’ British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 3, 1952–3, 22–43. See also discussion of his own paper by the same author in the following issue of the same Journal (The Principle of Methodological Individualism,’ BJPS, 3, 1952–3, 186–9).
He explains in the Discussion note (op. ) that he considers a counter-example to the principle of methodological individualism to be conceivable; so that the principle can hardly be susceptible of formal proof. But the counter-example envisaged by him is of the ‘group mind’ type—dispositional interpretation predicated of social wholes, in my scheme—such as he thinks might be suggested by some facts from the social life of insects. My arguments against the Principle are quite independent of any such possibility.
Cause and Meaning in the Social Sciences (Selected Philosophical Themes) by Ernest Gellner