By Daniel R., Jr. Sabia, Jerald Wallulis
Booklet via Sabia, Daniel R., Jr.
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Additional resources for Changing social science: critical theory and other critical perspectives
These empirical grounds include the competing theories and prototheories, the hypotheses, assumptions, and generalizations, the dominant biases and tacit beliefs, available instruments and data, and techniques of analysis and interpretation which are present at any given time in a scientific community. Page 17 The principles of post-empiricism are also in evidence when Miller inveighs against the contention that there is only one genuine form of scientific explanation. He argues to the contrary that what counts as a valid explanation in both the natural and social sciences is rarely subsumable under a general law, and that what is accepted as an adequate explanation is typically fieldand theory-dependent.
Similarly, Ball points out that the conception of politics shared by American citizens and political scientists enables them to identify, describe, and explain political behaviors, institutions, and processes in a certain way; and these features of political life in turn embody that conception in the sense that they would not be what they are were they conceived differently. The same point is made by Fay when, in describing the emergence of new conceptions of politics, he indicates how these new conceptions "altered the very nature" of political relationships and institutions.
For example, acceptance of the causal generalization that, in some (specified) societies declining birth rates are under certain conditions due to declining family income, does not guarantee acceptance of an alleged law to the effect that, under these conditions, birth rates are always linked to family income. In fact, no social scientist would accept this alleged law. Such examples seem to show that causal laws are not needed in the social sciences, but Fay argues that this conclusion is unwarranted.