Examines the theoretical formulations of public action. Analyzes how different ways of understanding and validating knowledge define the perception of alternative courses of action. Explores the practical consequences of theoretical choices.
This course explores the construction and validation of claims in the human studies. It both looks at the epistemological foundations of the human studies and at the way these disciplines come to shape public discourse.
Student learning goals
to understand how claims in the social sciences are constructed
to understand how different conceptions of knowledge are embodied in the claims of the human studies
to understand how conceptions of evidence shape public discourse
to prepare a research project of your own
to assess how the framing of your research reflects assumptions about both society and knowledge
General method of instruction
Lecture and discussion
This is a course in the philosophy of social science. If you have little background in philosophy, I urge you to read "Sophie's World" by Jostein Gaarder before the term starts.
Class assignments and grading
There will be four types of assignments: critical-interpretive essays, classroom presentation, review of the literature on a topic of your choice, very short in-class final.