Woodcutters and Witchcraft: Rationality and Interpretive Change in the Social Sciences (SUNY series in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences)

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9780791445129: Woodcutters and Witchcraft: Rationality and Interpretive Change in the Social Sciences (SUNY series in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences)
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Well written and richly illustrated with vivid examples from Wittgenstein's woodcutters to witchcraft in Mexico and elsewhere, this book argues that the underlying methodological principle governing interpretive change is explanatory coherence.

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Review:

"Mark Risjord's book is an important and original contribution to the philosophy of the social sciences. With his criterion of explanatory coherence, his constructive use of the erotetic or 'why' question approach to explanation, and his wide-ranging solution to the problem of apparent irrationality, Risjord challenges the assumptions about explanation and understanding shared by both sides of previous, seemingly intractable debates. This book should help reorient the field to the important problems of the social sciences in our era of explanatory pluralism." -- James Bohman, author of New Philosophy of Social Science: Problems of Indeterminacy

"The book provides a sustained development for an important--and, I think, in many ways correct--position on the relation between interpretation and explanation. The connections between them are well represented when Risjord puts the earlier discussions to work outlining ways in which meaning (and related matters) can feature in explanation (both as explanans and as explanatia). This topic is of great significance to the philosophy of the human sciences." -- David Henderson, author of Interpretation and Explanation in the Human Sciences

"The book provides a sustained development for an important--and, I think, in many ways correct--position on the relation between interpretation and explanation. The connections between them are well represented when Risjord puts the earlier discussions to work outlining ways in which meaning (and related matters) can feature in explanation (both as explanans and as explanatia). This topic is of great significance to the philosophy of the human sciences." -- David Henderson, author of Interpretation and Explanation in the Human Sciences

Synopsis:

The "woodcutters"of the title derive from an example of a problem of apparent irrationality in Wittgenstein's Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics (1956 ed.). Witchcraft enters the picture from anthropological studies interpreting beliefs about witchcraft as formally inconsistent. What Risjord (philosophy, Emory U.) is getting at is that to un

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9780791445112: Woodcutters and Witchcraft: Rationality and Interpretive Change in the Social Sciences (SUNY series in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences)

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ISBN 10: 0791445119 ISBN 13: 9780791445112
Publisher: State University of New York Press, 2000
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