Next talk: 'The Idea of a Social Science: Winch, Weber and Wittgenstein' by Chris Bainbridge 09 January 2018


People who study social phenomena, - the economy, politics, art, religion, family life, with their competing world views, have looked with envy at the natural sciences and sought to become more like them, with their hard, undisputed empirical facts and uninterrupted progress. But natural science isn’t quite as simple as that, and thinkers such as Peter Winch and Max Weber have said the fact that we’re participants in social life gives us a big advantage which we throw away if we just look at society from an outsider’s point of view as we do with natural phenomena. I will look at various concepts of what philosophy is to see what light they can throw epistemology’s key question – how do we know things?