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《World Economics and Politics》 2018-05
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Idea,Action,and Outcome: The Objects and the Tasks of Social Sciences

Tang Shiping;  
I identify idea,action,and outcome as the three key objects of social sciences and explain them as the three key tasks of social sciences. I show that our failure to grasp the ontological differences of the three objects and the fact that explaining them may require different epistemological stands and methodological tools have been a key cause behind the sterility of many of epistemological and methodological debates.Explicitly differentiating the three objects and grasping the fact that explaining them may require different epistemological stands and methodological tools therefore provide us with a better picture about the empirical challenges of social sciences and pave the way toward more scientific progresses. My discussion also holds critical pedagogical value. At the epistemological level, epistemological eclecticism has become increasingly fashionable. My discussion shows that this stand of epistemological eclecticism is misguided. Although no single epistemology is omnipotent,not all epistemologies are the same. Some epistemological stands are essentially untenable for most tasks in social sciences. At the methodology level, most graduate programs of social sciences nowadays demand students to master at least one,if not two or more,methods. Implicitly,graduate advisors and students take these methods to be of roughly equal value to our pursuit of knowledge and students' career. My analysis shows that this implicit assumption too is misplaced. As such,my analysis provides graduate students with a base for picking methodologies to be trained when they face the inevitable crunch of "too little time and too many things to learn."
【CateGory Index】: C12
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