This introductory chapter asserts that Ludwig Wittgenstein's philosophy forms the basis of a theory and method of social inquiry, and that Thomas Kuhn's statement of transformations in natural science exemplifies the kind of investigation that Wittgenstein's philosophy required and predicted. It presents the book's two primary themes that revolve around recurring issues in philosophy and the social and human sciences: the relationship between thought and language; and between interpretation and the object of interpretation. The chapter looks at the works of Wittgenstein and Kuhn in relation to these issues, and argues that their work is about the nature of the conventions represented in language and various human practices, the epistemological problems involved in understanding the meaning of such phenomena, the methodological issue of how to interpret and convey that meaning, and the practical dimension of the relationship between philosophy and its subject matter.
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