This chapter explains the basic philosophical concepts and features of the interpretive turn, including: meaning holism, the hermeneutic circle, self-interpretation, the social background, and contingent causality. Sociologists, economists, political scientists, psychologists, and other social scientists can no longer afford to ignore philosophy. This is because philosophical reflection is needed in order to decide the concepts and forms of reasoning that are appropriate to a given domain of empirical study. Interpretive philosophy ought to govern the approach social scientists take to research and what kinds of study they favor. This will be contrasted with some of the fundamental philosophical assumptions found in naturalist approaches to social science.
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