Scientism and the Study of Society

“Scientism and the Study of Society.” Part I: Economica N.S. 9 (1942). Part II: Economica 10 (1943). Part III: Economica 11 (1944).


“In the course of its slow development in the 18th and early 19th centuries the study of economic and social phenomena was guided in the choice of its methods in the main by the nature of the problems it had to face. It gradually developed a technique appropriate to those problems without much reflection on the character of the methods or on their relation to that of other disciplines of knowledge. Students of political economy could describe it alternatively as a branch of science or of moral or social philosophy without the least qualms whether their subject was scientific or philosophical. The term “science” had not yet assumed the special narrow meaning it has today, nor was there any distinction made which signaled out the physical or natural sciences and attributed to them a special dignity. Those who devoted themselves to those fields indeed readily chose the designation of philosophy when they were concerned with the more general aspects of their problems.”

JSTOR - Pt. 1
JSTOR - Pt. 2
JSTOR - Pt. 3
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