The Flight from Reality in the Human Sciences

Author: Ian Shapiro
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400826902
Release Date: 2009-02-09
Genre: Social Science

In this captivating yet troubling book, Ian Shapiro offers a searing indictment of many influential practices in the social sciences and humanities today. Perhaps best known for his critique of rational choice theory, Shapiro expands his purview here. In discipline after discipline, he argues, scholars have fallen prey to inward-looking myopia that results from--and perpetuates--a flight from reality. In the method-driven academic culture we inhabit, argues Shapiro, researchers too often make display and refinement of their techniques the principal scholarly activity. The result is that they lose sight of the objects of their study. Pet theories and methodological blinders lead unwelcome facts to be ignored, sometimes not even perceived. The targets of Shapiro's critique include the law and economics movement, overzealous formal and statistical modeling, various reductive theories of human behavior, misguided conceptual analysis in political theory, and the Cambridge school of intellectual history. As an alternative to all of these, Shapiro makes a compelling case for problem-driven social research, rooted in a realist philosophy of science and an antireductionist view of social explanation. In the lucid--if biting--prose for which Shapiro is renowned, he explains why this requires greater critical attention to how problems are specified than is usually undertaken. He illustrates what is at stake for the study of power, democracy, law, and ideology, as well as in normative debates over rights, justice, freedom, virtue, and community. Shapiro answers many critics of his views along the way, securing his position as one of the distinctive social and political theorists of our time.

The Real World of Democratic Theory

Author: Ian Shapiro
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400836832
Release Date: 2010-11-22
Genre: Political Science

In this book Ian Shapiro develops and extends arguments that have established him as one of today's leading democratic theorists. Shapiro is hardheaded about the realities of politics and power, and the difficulties of fighting injustice and oppression. Yet he makes a compelling case that democracy's legitimacy depends on pressing it into the service of resisting domination, and that democratic theorists must rise to the occasion of fashioning the necessary tools. That vital agenda motivates the arguments of this book. Tracing modern democracy's roots to John Locke and the American founders, Shapiro shows that they saw more deeply into the dynamics of democratic politics than have many of their successors. Drawing on Lockean and Madisonian insights, Shapiro evaluates democracy's changing global fortunes over the past two decades. He also shows how elusive democracy can be by exploring the contrast between its successful establishment in South Africa and its failures elsewhere--particularly the Middle East. Shapiro spells out the implications of his account for long-standing debates about public opinion, judicial review, abortion, and inherited wealth--as well as more recent preoccupations with globalization, national security, and international terrorism. Scholars, students, and democratic activists will all learn from Shapiro's trenchant account of democracy's foundations, its history, and its contemporary challenges. They will also find his distinctive democratic vision both illuminating and appealing.

The State of Democratic Theory

Author: Ian Shapiro
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 140082589X
Release Date: 2009-01-10
Genre: Political Science

What should we expect from democracy, and how likely is it that democracies will live up to those expectations? In The State of Democratic Theory, Ian Shapiro offers a critical assessment of contemporary answers to these questions, lays out his distinctive alternative, and explores its implications for policy and political action. Some accounts of democracy's purposes focus on aggregating preferences; others deal with collective deliberation in search of the common good. Shapiro reveals the shortcomings of both, arguing instead that democracy should be geared toward minimizing domination throughout society. He contends that Joseph Schumpeter's classic defense of competitive democracy is a useful starting point for achieving this purpose, but that it stands in need of radical supplementation--both with respect to its operation in national political institutions and in its extension to other forms of collective association. Shapiro's unusually wide-ranging discussion also deals with the conditions that make democracy's survival more and less likely, with the challenges presented by ethnic differences and claims for group rights, and with the relations between democracy and the distribution of income and wealth. Ranging over politics, philosophy, constitutional law, economics, sociology, and psychology, this book is written in Shapiro's characteristic lucid style--a style that engages practitioners within the field while also opening up the debate to newcomers.

Interpretation in Social Life Social Science and Marketing

Author: John O'Shaughnessy
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781135202255
Release Date: 2009-05-07
Genre: Business & Economics

'Interpretation' is used as an umbrella for bringing together a wide range of concepts and developments in the philosophy of social science that provide the foundation for clear thinking about social phenomena. In his new book, John O’Shaughnessy familiarises the reader with the nature of interpretation and its importance in social life, decision making in social science enquiries and consumer marketing, thus offering a multidisciplinary approach to problems of bias and uncertainty. Thus, this book is novel in its outlook and comprehensive in its approach. Whereas past studies in interpretation have focused on hermeneutical methods, O’Shaughnessy goes further considering the role of interpretation in social interactions, in undertaking scientific work, in the use of statistics, in causal analysis, in consumer evaluations of products and artifacts and in interpreting problematic situations together with the corresponding biases arising from emotional happiness and the concepts employed.

Containment

Author: Ian Shapiro
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400827565
Release Date: 2009-02-09
Genre: Political Science

In this powerfully argued book, Ian Shapiro shows that the idea of containment offers the best hope for protecting Americans and their democracy into the future. His bold vision for American security in the post-September 11 world is reminiscent of George Kennan's historic "Long Telegram," in which the containment strategy that won the Cold War was first developed. The Bush Doctrine of preemptive war and unilateral action has been marked by incompetence--missed opportunities to capture Osama bin Laden, failures of postwar planning for Iraq, and lack of an exit strategy. But Shapiro contends that the problems run deeper. He explains how the Bush Doctrine departs from the best traditions of American national-security policy and accepted international norms, and renders Americans and democratic values less safe. He debunks the belief that containment is obsolete. Terror networks might be elusive, but the enabling states that make them dangerous can be contained. Shapiro defends containment against charges of appeasement, arguing that force against a direct threat will be needed. He outlines new approaches to intelligence, finance, allies, diplomacy, and international institutions. He explains why containment is the best alternative to a misguided agenda that naively assumes democratic regime change is possible from the barrel of an American gun. President Bush has defined the War on Terror as the decisive ideological struggle of our time. Shapiro shows what a self-defeating mistake that is. He sets out a viable alternative that offers real security to Americans, reclaims America's international stature, and promotes democracy around the world.

Perestroika

Author:
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300130201
Release Date:
Genre:


Politics Without Vision

Author: Tracy B. Strong
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226777467
Release Date: 2012-04-20
Genre: Philosophy

Politics without Vision takes up the thought of seven influential thinkers, each of whom attempted to construct a political solution to this problem: Nietzsche, Weber, Freud, Lenin, Schmitt, Heidegger, and Arendt. None of these theorists were liberals nor, excepting possibly Arendt, were they democrats{u2014}and some might even be said to have served as handmaidens to totalitarianism. And all to a greater or lesser extent shared the common conviction that the institutions and practices of liberalism are inadequate to the demands and stresses of the present times. In examining their thought, Strong acknowledges the political evil that some of their ideas served to foster but argues that these were not necessarily the only paths their explorations could have taken. By uncovering the turning points in their thought{u2014}and the paths not taken{u2014}Strong strives to develop a political theory that can avoid, and perhaps help explain, the mistakes of the past while furthering the democratic impulse.

The Order of Things

Author: Michel Foucault
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307819307
Release Date: 2012-04-18
Genre: Philosophy

In the work that established him as the most important French thinker since Sartre, Michel Foucault offers startling evidence that "man"—man as a subject of scientific knowledge—is at best a recent invention, the result of a fundamental mutation in our culture. With vast erudition, Foucault cuts across disciplines and reaches back into seventeenth century to show how classical systems of knowledge, which linked all of nature within a great chain of being and analogies between the stars in the heavens and the features in a human face, gave way to the modern sciences of biology, philology, and political economy. The result is nothing less than an archaeology of the sciences that unearths old patterns of meaning and reveals the shocking arbitrariness of our received truths.

Deviate

Author: Beau Lotto
Publisher: Hachette Books
ISBN: 9780316300179
Release Date: 2017-04-25
Genre: Science

Beau Lotto, the world-renowned neuroscientist, entrepreneur, and two-time TED speaker, takes us on a tour of how we perceive the world, and how disrupting it leads us to create and innovate. Perception is the foundation of human experience, but few of us understand why we see what we do, much less how. By revealing the startling truths about the brain and its perceptions, Beau Lotto shows that the next big innovation is not a new technology: it is a new way of seeing. In his first major book, Lotto draws on over two decades of pioneering research to explain that our brain didn't evolve to see the world accurately. It can't! Visually stunning, with entertaining illustrations and optical illusions throughout, and with clear and comprehensive explanations of the science behind how our perceptions operate, Deviate will revolutionize the way you see yourself, others and the world. With this new understanding of how the brain functions, Deviate is not just an illuminating account of the neuroscience of thought, behavior, and creativity: it is a call to action, enlisting readers in their own journey of self-discovery.

Faith in Politics

Author: Bryan T. McGraw
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139487726
Release Date: 2010-06-10
Genre: Political Science

No account of contemporary politics can ignore religion. The liberal democratic tradition in political thought has long treated religion with some suspicion, regarding it as a source of division and instability. Faith in Politics shows how such arguments are unpersuasive and dependent on questionable empirical claims: rather than being a serious threat to democracies' legitimacy, stability and freedom, religion can be democratically constructive. Using historical cases of important religious political movements to add empirical weight, Bryan McGraw suggests that religion will remain a significant political force for the foreseeable future and that pluralist democracies would do well to welcome rather than marginalize it.

Change Research

Author: Corey S. Shdaimah
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231525367
Release Date: 2011-09-13
Genre: Social Science

Collaborating with community members adds a critical dimension to social work research, providing practitioners with intimate knowledge of a community's goals and needs while equipping community advocates with vital skills for social change. Sharing the inspiring story of one such partnership, Corey Shdaimah, Roland Stahl, and Sanford F. Schram recount their efforts working with an affordable housing coalition in Philadelphia, helping activists research low-income home ownership and repair. Their collaboration helped create the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund, which funnels millions of dollars to people in need. This volume describes the origins of their partnership and its growth, including developing tensions and their diffusion in ways that contributed to the research. The authors personalize methods of research and the possibilities for advocacy, ultimately connecting their encounters to more general, critical themes. Building on the field's commitment to social justice, they effectively demonstrate the potential of change research to facilitate widespread, long-term difference and improve community outcomes.

Quantum Theory and the Flight from Realism

Author: Christopher Norris
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781134595242
Release Date: 2002-11-01
Genre: Philosophy

This book is a critical introduction to the long-standing debate concerning the conceptual foundations of quantum mechanics and the problems it has posed for physicists and philosophers from Einstein to the present. Quantum theory has been a major infulence on postmodernism, and presents significant problems for realists. Keeping his own realist position in check, Christopher Norris subjects a wide range of key opponents and supporters of realism to a high and equal level of scrutiny. With a characteristic combination of rigour and intellectual generosity, he draws out the merits and weaknesses from opposing arguments. In a sequence of closely argued chapters, Norris examines the premises of orthodox quantum theory, as developed most influentially by Bohr and Heisenberg, and its impact on varous philosophical developments. These include the ideas developed by W.V Quine, Thomas Kuhn, Michael Dummett, Bas van Fraassen, and Hilary Puttnam. In each case, Norris argues, these thinkers have been influenced by the orthodox construal of quantum mechanics as requiring drastic revision of principles which had hitherto defined the very nature of scientific method, causal explanati and rational enquiry. Putting the case for a realist approach which adheres to well-tried scientific principles of causal reasoning and inference to the best explanation, Christopher Norris clarifies these debates to a non-specialist readership and scholars of philosophy, science studies and the philosophy of science alike. Quantum Theory and the Flight From Realism suggests that philosophical reflection can contribute to a better understanding of these crucial, current issues.

The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies

Author: Michael Freeden
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191663710
Release Date: 2013-08-15
Genre: Political Science

This is the first comprehensive volume to offer a state of the art investigation both of the nature of political ideologies and of their main manifestations. The diversity of ideology studies is represented by a mixture of the range of theories that illuminate the field, combined with an appreciation of the changing complexity of concrete ideologies and the emergence of new ones. Ideologies, however, are always with us. The Handbook is divided into three sections: The first is divided into three sections: The first reflects some of the latest thinking about the development of ideology on an historical dimension, from the standpoints of conceptual history, Marx studies, social science theory and history, and leading schools of continental philosophy. The second includes some of the most recent interpretations and theories of ideology, all of which are sympathetic in their own ways to its exploration and close investigation, even when judiciously critical of its social impact. This section contains many of the more salient contemporary accounts of ideology. The third focuses on the leading ideological families and traditions, as well as on some of their cultural and geographical manifestations, incorporating both historical and contemporary perspectives. Each chapter is written by an expert in their field, bringing the latest approaches and understandings to their task. The Handbook will position the study of ideologies in the mainstream of political theory and political analysis and will attest to its indispensability both to courses on political theory and to scholars who wish to take their understanding of ideologies in new directions.

The Politics of Method in the Human Sciences

Author: George Steinmetz
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822386889
Release Date: 2005-04-25
Genre: Social Science

The Politics of Method in the Human Sciences provides a remarkable comparative assessment of the variations of positivism and alternative epistemologies in the contemporary human sciences. Often declared obsolete, positivism is alive and well in a number of the fields; in others, its influence is significantly diminished. The essays in this collection investigate its mutations in form and degree across the social science disciplines. Looking at methodological assumptions field by field, individual essays address anthropology, area studies, economics, history, the philosophy of science, political science and political theory, and sociology. Essayists trace disciplinary developments through the long twentieth century, focusing on the decades since World War II. Contributors explore and contrast some of the major alternatives to positivist epistemologies, including Marxism, psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, narrative theory, and actor-network theory. Almost all the essays are written by well-known practitioners of the fields discussed. Some essayists approach positivism and anti-positivism via close readings of texts influential in their respective disciplines. Some engage in ethnographies of the present-day human sciences; others are more historical in method. All of them critique contemporary social scientific practice. Together, they trace a trajectory of thought and method running from the past through the present and pointing toward possible futures. Contributors. Andrew Abbott, Daniel Breslau, Michael Burawoy, Andrew Collier , Michael Dutton, Geoff Eley, Anthony Elliott, Stephen Engelmann, Sandra Harding, Emily Hauptmann, Webb Keane, Tony Lawson, Sophia Mihic, Philip Mirowski, Timothy Mitchell, William H. Sewell Jr., Margaret R. Somers, George Steinmetz, Elizabeth Wingrove

The Moment of Clarity

Author: Christian Madsbjerg
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
ISBN: 9781422191903
Release Date: 2014-02-11
Genre: Business & Economics

Businesses need a new type of problem solving. Why? Because they are getting people wrong. Traditional problem-solving methods taught in business schools serve us well for some of the everyday challenges of business, but they tend to be ineffective with problems involving a high degree of uncertainty. Why? Because, more often than not, these tools are based on a flawed model of human behavior. And that flawed model is the invisible scaffolding that supports our surveys, our focus groups, our R&D, and much of our long-term strategic planning. In The Moment of Clarity, Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel Rasmussen examine the business world’s assumptions about human behavior and show how these assumptions can lead businesses off track. But the authors chart a way forward. Using theories and tools from the human sciences—anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and psychology—The Moment of Clarity introduces a practical framework called sensemaking. Sensemaking’s nonlinear problem-solving approach gives executives a better way to understand business challenges involving shifts in human behavior. This new methodology, a fundamentally different way to think about strategy, is already taking off in Fortune 100 companies around the world. Through compelling case studies and their direct experience with LEGO, Samsung, Adidas, Coloplast, and Intel, Madsbjerg and Rasmussen will show you how to solve problems as diverse as setting company direction, driving growth, improving sales models, understanding the real culture of your organization, and finding your way in new markets. Over and over again, executives say the same thing after engaging in a process of sensemaking: “Now I see it . . .” This experience—the moment of clarity—has the potential to drive the entire strategic future of your company. Isn’t it time you and your firm started getting people right? Learn more about the innovation and strategy work of ReD Associates at: redassociates.com