Idea, Action, and Outcome: The Objects and Tasks of Social Sciences

55 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2016

See all articles by Shiping Tang

Shiping Tang

Fudan University - School of International Relations and Public Affairs (SIRPA)

Date Written: June 5, 2016

Abstract

I identify idea, action, and outcome as the three key objects of social sciences and explaining 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 has 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 provides us with a better picture about the empirical challenges of social sciences and paves the way toward more scientific progresses. Our discussion also holds important pedagogical value.

Keywords: Idea; Action; Outcome; Ontology; Epistemology; Methodology; Scientific Realism

Suggested Citation

Tang, Shiping, Idea, Action, and Outcome: The Objects and Tasks of Social Sciences (June 5, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2790615 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2790615

Shiping Tang (Contact Author)

Fudan University - School of International Relations and Public Affairs (SIRPA) ( email )

220 Handan Road
Shanghai, 200433
China

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