Dale DeWild


Sociology has been crippled by a philosophy of social science that denies the relevance of important features of reality. Charles Taylor and Christian Smith have each articulated a searching evaluation of the current deficiencies of social science, and proposed a better philosophy. Their proposal adds legitimacy, breadth, and depth to an understanding of human nature. Taylor and Smith have each also created a vigorous and profound philosophy of human nature, and each of their views of human nature has incorporated a creative philosophy of morality. Along the way they have offered radically new conceptions of human agency, social causation, culture, selfhood, truth, and reality. Their philosophies of knowledge and their philosophies of human nature are largely in agreement, but their ideas about morality are incompatible. Sociologists typically avoid thinking about philosophical differences because past attempts to resolve them have only produced inconclusive debates. Perhaps Taylor and Smith offer a more secure foundation upon which a more solid sociology can be built. This paper is an invitation to explore these possibilities.  



critical realism, empiricism, human nature, knowledge, morality, reality

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