Its Relation to Philosophy Winch attacks the contemporary conception of the relations between philosophy and the social studies and he proposes to undertake a discussion of the nature of philosophy since it will clarify his ideas. In his book, Winch argues that a successful social science in general and sociology in particular would more nearly resemble literacy criticism than physics and other physical sciences and he provides the central core of his argument under the title ‘Understanding Social Institutions.’ He maintains that ‘understanding’ is more essential phenomenon than ‘explaining’ and it clarifies his major arguments. According to him, it is essential to use the term ‘understanding’ rather than explaining, though he does not mean to allude to the distinction made by Webber between ‘casual explanation’ and interpretive understanding’. “The point I have in mind is a rather different one. Methodologists and philosophers of science commonly approach their subject by asking what the character of the explanations offered is in the science under consideration. Now of course explanations are closely connected with understanding. Understanding is the goal of explanation and the end-product of successful explanation… Unless there is a form of understanding that is not the result of explanation, no such thing as explanation would be possible. An explanation is called for only where there is, at least thought to be, a deficiency of understanding.” (Winch, 1990, p X). Winch considers ‘understanding’ as the standard against which the deficiency of the knowledge must be measured and this calls for explanation. The understanding one already has is expressed in the concepts which constitute the form of subject matter that one is concerned with. On the other hand, these concepts also express certain aspects of the life characteristic of the people who apply them. The interconnections among these aspects are the major subject of explanation in the book by Winch.It is also vital to understand the connections among concepts such as motives, reasons, and causes in order to comprehend the major claim of Winch in his book Winch is unambiguous that the discussion of the distinction between the natural sciences and the social sciences, which is the central concern of the author in the book, revolves round the concept of generality and the different ways in which this
Winch, Peter. (1958). The Idea of a Social Science and Its Relation to Philosophy. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p 1.
Winch, Peter. (1990). “Preface.” The Idea of a Social Science and Its Relation to Philosophy. London: Routledge. p X.
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