A Poetic for Sociology: Toward a Logic of Discovery for the Human Sciences

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University of Chicago Press, Mar 7, 1989 - Social Science - 302 pages
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For too long, argues Richard Harvey Brown, social scientists have felt forced to choose between imitating science's empirical methodology and impersonating a romantic notion of art, the methods of which are seen as primarily a matter of intuition, interpretation, and opinion. Developing the idea of a "cognitive aesthetic," Brown shows how both science and art—as well as the human studies that stand between them—depend on metaphoric thinking as their "logic of discovery" and may be assessed in terms of such aesthetic criteria of adequacy as economy, elegance, originality, scope, congruence, and form.

By recognizing this "aesthetic" common ground between science and art, Brown demonstrates that a fusion can be achieved within the human sciences of these two principal ideals of knowledge—the scientific or positivist one and the artistic or intuitive one. A path, then, is opened for creating a knowledge of ourselves and society which is at once objective and subjective, at once valid scientifically and significantly humane.
 

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Contents

a budget of crises
9
symbolic realism
24
Form and content
40
Sociological distance
53
Point of view as an instrument of selfreflection
72
Metaphor in art science and social theory
88
Illustrative metaphor
107
The root metaphors of sociological thought
125
Irony
172
Coda
221
Notes
235
Bibliography
266
Index
295
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About the author (1989)

Richard Harvey Brown is associate professor of sociology at the University of Maryland and the author of Structure, Consciousness, and History and Society as Text, the latter published by the University of Chicago Press.

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