Relativism and the Social Sciences

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Overview

This volume of essays deals with the problem of relativism, in particular cultural relativism. If our society knows better than other societies, how do we know that it knows better? There is a profound irony in the fact that this self-doubt has become most acute in the one civilisation that has persuaded the rest of the world to emulate it. The claim to cognitive superiority is often restricted, of course, to the limited sphere of natural science and technology; and that immediately raises the second main theme of this volume - the differences between the human and natural sciences. These essays reach towards a new style and mode of enquiry - a mixture of philosophy, history and anthropology - that promises to prove more revealing and fruitful.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Gellner writes with a razor. His first essay on positivism and hegelianism ... is simply brilliant.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

' ... one of the pleasures of reading Gellner is just that he always finds a more apt phrase, a sharper comment, a better example than most of us could make up for ourselves.' New Society

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521337984
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1987
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 212
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Table of Contents

Editorial preface I. C. Jarvie and J. Agassi; Introduction; 1. Positivism against Hegelianism; 2. The gaffe-avoiding animal or a bundle of hypotheses; 3. Relativism and universals; 4. The scientific status of the social sciences (und leider auch Sociologie); 5. What is structuralism?; 6. No haute cuisine in Africa; 7. Concepts and community; Sources; Bibliography; Name index; Subject index.

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