Critical Realism Workshop

An exploration of the uses of philosophy

The role of philosophy in social science is controversial. Philosophy is often seen as being too impractical, esoteric, speculative, and removed for it to be of any real use for social scientists. Theory is primarily seen in terms of empirical theory, “scientific” theory and theory of the middle range; theory explaining social phenomenon and theory directly in service of empirical research. Critical Realism begs to differ. Critical Realists see social science as inexorably intertwined with philosophy, and believe that social science is at its best when it has a firm grounding in philosophy and at its worst when it leaves aside its philosophical dimension.

This workshop is a one-day introduction and general discussion about what the philosophy of critical realism can contribute to social science. The discussion will center around questions of theory, metatheory, philosophy, ontology, and epistemology, and how such philosophical issues can inform practical and empirical research in social science. In particular, the workshop will focus on contemporary debates in metaphysics, the philosophy of science, and moral philosophy concerning the following: causation and its potential impact on how we construct a social scientific explanation; emergence and how its affects our reconstruction of the effects of social structure; and contemporary discussions concerning the fact-value dichotomy and how it might shape how we think about the moral and political side of social science. Reading materials will be distributed before the workshop.  


                                           Please RSVP below using the form below. The workshop is free.

Registration Form

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Workshop on Critical Realism