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Interpretive Social ScienceAn Anti-Naturalist Approach$
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Mark Bevir and Jason Blakely

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198832942

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198832942.001.0001

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Ethics and democracy

Ethics and democracy

(p.156) 8 Ethics and democracy
Interpretive Social Science

Mark Bevir

Jason Blakely

Oxford University Press

An anti-naturalist approach overcomes the strict dichotomy between facts and values. Social scientists are free to take up ethically engaged research projects if they are so inclined. This chapter shows how political scientists working within an interpretive, anti-naturalist framework can legitimately take an interest in ethical critique, critical sociologies, and democratic theory. Indeed, anti-naturalist and interpretive philosophy offers social scientists: a better account of the status of values within social reality; an understanding of the ethical significance of the human past; and a critique of technocratic forms of political organization. Interpretive approaches are also linked to a more deliberative theory of democracy. All this implies social scientists have ethical and not just conceptual reasons for adopting an interpretive approach.

Keywords:   fact–value dichotomy, normative inquiry, ethics, democratic theory, technocracy

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