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Social Inquiry After Wittgenstein and KuhnLeaving Everything as It Is$
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John Gunnell

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231169400

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231169400.001.0001

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Wittgenstein & Social Theory

Wittgenstein & Social Theory

Chapter:
(p.35) 2 Wittgenstein & Social Theory
Source:
Social Inquiry After Wittgenstein and Kuhn
Author(s):

John G. Gunnell

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231169400.003.0003

This chapter provides a summary of how Wittgenstein's work addresses the practices of the social and human sciences, beginning with an examination of Peter Winch's The Idea of a Social Science. Winch's text captures the general significance of Wittgenstein's work for conceptualizing the theory and practice of social inquiry. Social phenomena are inherently related to forms of social life, and Wittgenstein's work establishes a theoretical account of the nature of conventional phenomena. The chapter distinguishes between first-order/constructive/presentational and second-order/reconstructive/representational forms of inquiry, the distinction of which is considered as the pivotal difference between the natural and the human sciences. In addition, the chapter further elaborates on the concepts of interpretation and understanding.

Keywords:   Ludwig Wittgenstein, Peter Winch, social science, human science, social inquiry, first-order inquiry, second-order inquiry, interpretation

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