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Karl Popper and the Social Sciences
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This is the first book-length exploration of Karl Popper’s often-neglected contributions to the philosophy of social science. William A. Gorton situates Popper’s ideas on social inquiry within the broader framework of his thought, including his philosophy of natural science, his ontological theories, and his political thought. Gorton places special attention on Popper’s theory of situational analysis and how it aims to heighten our understanding of the social world by untangling the complex web of human interaction that produces unintended—and often unwanted—social phenomena. Situational analysis, Gorton contends, involves a significant departure from the method of the natural sciences, despite Popper’s plea for the unity of scientific method. Gorton also addresses some common misconceptions concerning Popper’s stance toward economics and Marxism, making the provocative claim that contemporary analytical Marxism provides the best current example of Popperian social science put into practice.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication
  2. pp. ii-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Abbreviations
  2. pp. xi-xi
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-4
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  1. 1. Popperian Situational Analysis
  2. pp. 5-5
  1. BUILDING MODELS
  2. pp. 6-10
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  1. AGAINST PSYCHOLOGISM AND CONSPIRACY THEORIES
  2. pp. 11-15
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  1. METHODOLOGICAL INDIVIDUALISM
  2. pp. 15-21
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  1. SUMMARY
  2. pp. 21-21
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  1. 2. Metaphysics, Realism, and Situational Analysis
  2. pp. 23-23
  1. THE VIENNA CIRCLE’S POSITIVISM
  2. pp. 24-24
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  1. VERIFICATIONISM, EMPIRICISM, AND METAPHYSICS
  2. pp. 25-28
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  1. POPPER’S METAPHYSICAL AND SCIENTIFIC REALISM
  2. pp. 29-32
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  1. REALISM, WORLD 3, AND SOCIAL INQUIRY
  2. pp. 32-40
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  1. SUMMARY
  2. pp. 40-40
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  1. 3. Social Laws, the Unity of Scientific Method, and Situational Analysis
  2. pp. 41-41
  1. CAUSATION, COVERING LAWS, AND REALISM
  2. pp. 41-52
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  1. THE UNITY OF SCIENTIFIC METHOD
  2. pp. 52-53
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  1. FALSIFICATION AND SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS
  2. pp. 53-58
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  1. SUMMARY
  2. pp. 58-58
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  1. 4. Situational Analysis and Economic Theory
  2. pp. 59-62
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  1. RATIONALITY AND ECONOMIC THEORY
  2. pp. 62-65
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  1. SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS AND ECONOMIC THEORY
  2. pp. 65-72
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  1. EXPLAINING VOTER TURNOUT: RATIONAL CHOICE VERSUS SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS
  2. pp. 72-76
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  1. UNTANGLING COMPLEX PATTERNS OF INTERACTION
  2. pp. 76-79
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  1. SUMMARY
  2. pp. 79-80
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  1. 5. Popper’s Debt to Marx
  2. pp. 81-94
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  1. POPPER’S CRITIQUE OF MARX
  2. pp. 82-90
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  1. POPPER’S DEBT TO MARX
  2. pp. 90-94
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  1. POPPER AND THE ANALYTICAL MARXISTS
  2. pp. 94-98
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  1. SUMMARY
  2. pp. 98-98
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  1. 6. The Shortcomings of Situational Analysis
  2. pp. 99-100
  1. THE LIMITED RANGE OF SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS
  2. pp. 100-103
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  1. IRRATIONALITY AND SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS
  2. pp. 103-113
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  1. ELSTER’S MODEL OF REVOLUTIONS
  2. pp. 113-119
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  1. SUMMARY
  2. pp. 119-119
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  1. Conclusion
  2. pp. 121-122
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 123-132
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  1. References
  2. pp. 133-140
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 141-145
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