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Marx, Weber and the methodology of social science

By Philip D. Fryer


This thesis is primarily concerned with the relationship\ud between realism in philosophy and in social science. I attempt\ud to expound and defend two principal arguments; first, that a realist\ud approach in philosophy is a precondition of understanding\ud science as a rational activity; secondly, that only a realist\ud approach to the understanding of social phenomena seems to offer\ud hope for developing an account of social inquiry based on scientific\ud principles. However, these two arguments are developed by way\ud of a critical analysis of the realist view in relationship to\ud some of its major rivals. Consequently, as well as my realist\ud exposition of Marx's methodology of science outlined in chapters\ud five and six, where I argue that only a dialectico-causal interpretation\ud of historical materialism seems to meet the requirements\ud of an historical science, there is a chapter on Weber's\ud methodology (hence the title of the thesis) and a section on\ud other approaches to social science stating my case against the\ud attempt to found social inquiry on alternative cognitive foundations.\ud In addition, the argument against non-realist views of\ud social science is extended to the critique of Marxism itself\ud especially in the context of the theories of Colletti and\ud Althusser contained in chapter 4

Topics: Q1, H1, B1
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