By S. Aronowitz
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Additional resources for Against Orthodoxy: Social Theory and Its Discontents
Through the back door of the indeterminacy principle crept the Spenglerian monster, culture (read prejudice or, in its more elegant formulation, ideology). The problem was how to posit knowledge that referred to a relativistic and probabilistic universe and, perhaps more to the point, back to the observer as a reliable source. Popper argued that the method of replicable experiment could “screen out” most, if not all, of the cultural factors that might intrude in the processes of investigation and distort its results.
Science depends on observation, mathematical calculation, and experiment, while the various forms of speculation—philosophy, mythology, poetry—lack the ground from which theorizing might attain the lofty perches of apodictic reason. If David Hume (1978) was right to call attention to the unreliability of the senses in the accumulation of knowledge, Immanuel Kant’s (1929) solution—to posit subordinate knowledge of the senses to the categories of mind and to install the primacy of method, grounded both in observation and in algorithms of verification and proof—is held as the corrective.
Chapter 3 A Critique of Methodological Reason Stanley Aronowitz and Robert Ausch A merican social science has always been preoccupied with methodology. In the last twenty-five years, however, it has become a near obsession. S. social science is, for the most part, unique in its desire to use methodology as natural science does, to ground its claims to truth. Although social inquiry always employs various techniques—statistical, historical, ethnographic, for example—the effort to emulate what many consider the rigorous methodologies of the natural sciences continues within sociology, psychology, and other disciplines in the human sciences.
Against Orthodoxy: Social Theory and Its Discontents by S. Aronowitz