Presentation on theme: "The need for theories of knowledge and models of causal account in integrative research; or the implications of Thesis XI on Feuerbach for social research."— Presentation transcript:
The need for theories of knowledge and models of causal account in integrative research; or the implications of Thesis XI on Feuerbach for social research.
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Integrated Social Research The integration of pluralist practices of social research with social change at whatever level.
What Works? For Whom? – Cui bono? – the political actors’ question. How? – what implemented processes achieve any sort of outcome? – the engineers’ question Why? What underlying generative mechanism produces any given future condition? – the scientists’ question.
Abbott Chaos of Disciplines Chicago: Chicago University Press ‘ … the larger, universal framework for social science is by no means the standard, often-parodied axiomatic structure. Rather it resembles what the Romans called the law of peoples (ius gentium), a law that they applied to diverse groups at he edges of empire and that they distinguished from the formalized civil law (ius civile) that applied specifically to Roman citizens. There is no universal social scientific knowledge of the latter kind – systematic, axiomatic, universal in a contentless sense. There is only universal knowledge of the former kind, a universal knowledge emerging from accommodation and conflict rather than from axioms, a universal knowledge that provides tentative bridges between local knowledges rather than systematic maps that deny them, a universal knowledge that aims, like the ius gentium, at allowing interchange among people who differ fundamentally.’
Knowledge or Knowledge Process? Knowledge is grounded in its social context. The meanings of data are contestable, –And often contested. They are not facts. Don’t reduce ‘knowledge’ to ‘data’. Data, in themselves, are not valid/invalid. Instead it is the arguments we build which must be assessed: are they warranted?
Knowledge as a Process of Getting to Know Diagram 1
Empiricism’s foci: Validity as inter-subjective agreement Knowledge is _not_ value-neutral Evidence from outside your a priori basket of knowledge is important.
Standpoint theorists Harding, Babbitt add more epistemic virtues: Evidence of social power should be sought, even if covered by veneers (Harding); People who feel the effects of power may know well how power relations work; A dialogue will be a reflexive dialogue, if it is working well (Babbitt).
Realists have added more points: Scepticism about the universality of knowledge; Humanised knowledge (through ‘epistemic relativism’) Ways of knowing that are grounded socially.
Conclusion Dialogical knowledge can be achieved; it is mainly a process of learning. Criteria for the valuation of that knowledge may be contested. They are multiple criteria. We might call them ‘epistemic virtues’, following Morton’s terminology.