What do we mean by "action"? And what does it mean to understand an action or an institution? What are we doing when we attempt to explain the reasons of a certain behaviour? What role do an agents motives play, and which rules govern his activities? These are typical questions addressed by social science epistemology. This volume illustrates the famous debate concerning "sciences of nature" and "sciences of the spirit" and helps the reader understand the different ways in which the theoretical assumptions of social science have been envisioned. The author also applies a common framework for evaluating the conceptual framework and difficulties encountered by each of a series of epistemological approaches: "naturalism", "hermeneutics", "situationism", and "systemic" outlooks.
Davide Sparti teaches Cultural Sociology and Social Science Epistemology in the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy at the University of Siena.