Readers are introduced to the major philosophical paradigms shaping social science research today, including hermeneutics and naturalism. The pervasive influence of naturalism on social scientific research is explained and the interpretive alternative is sketched. As part of this, readers are offered an account of the philosophical origins of today’s social science disciplines with a special focus on the case of political science. At the beginning of the twentieth century a modern, ahistorical, and formal paradigm for the study of politics was formed as scholars increasingly rejected the developmental historical narratives and Hegelianism of the nineteenth century. The chapter concludes with a brief overview of the argument of the book.
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