Some Signs of Things to Come

I’m back from vacation, and ready to write. I did send in our proposal for the Philosophy of Social Science Roundtable, requesting a receipt. I didn’t get one, so I’ll send the proposal on to the other two organizers. Whether accepted for that conference or not, though, I’m ready to write this sucker.

Continental Philosophy of Social Science continues to prove a thought-provoking book. I’ll blog some more on that soon. And I may have some responses to Brabsher and/or Mulbo and/or Obiwanky. [Listing these noms de blog this way reminds me of the line from Raising Arizona: “Hear that everybody? We’s using code names.”] Most of all, though, I want to sketch the main move I have in mind for the article at this point: suggesting a modified hermeneutic practice as the right method for integrating and synthesizing all of the varied approaches to studying human behavior that are coalescing here under the broad heading “social science,” including those approaches that focus narrowly on causal explanations of said behavior. That is to say, rather than opposing hermeneutics to the heirs of positivism, I would like to try to meld them together. I’ll explain what that might mean tomorrow.

And now, for no particular reason, two quotes from Mark Twain:

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” [Clearly Twain was writing well before the age of modern advertising.]


“I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.”

[On the exam you will be asked to say whether this latter quote is more similar to (a) or (b) below, justifying your answer with your own humor taxonomy:

(a) Mine is a most peaceable disposition. My wishes are: a humble cottage with a thatched roof, but a good bed, good food, the freshest milk and butter, flowers before my window, and a few fine trees before my door; and if God wants to make my happiness complete, he will grant me the joy of seeing some six or seven of my enemies hanging from those trees. Before their death I shall, moved in my heart, forgive them all the wrong they did me in their lifetime. One must, it is true, forgive one’s enemies — but not before they have been hanged. — Heinrich Heine

(b) If you find that you have offended someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Then you will have a mile head start…and they won’t have any shoes. — Dutch proverb]


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