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In this course we examine the history and philosophy of the social sciences from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. We will explore the importance of major figures, such as David Hume, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Franz Boas, Robert and Helen Lynd, George Gallup, Karl Mannheim, Robert Merton, Alfred Kinsey, Talcott Parsons, Walt Rostow, Jurgen Habermas, and others. We will study the development of key controversies about social science methodology, the relationship between the individual and society,the meaning of race, class and other social groupings, the causes of historical change, the prospects for social progress, and the social relevance and uses of social science knowledge. We will consider how the social sciences were established as academic disciplines, became institutionalized, and grew into modern professions. We will examine the social context and specific influences (i.e., politics, war, social structure, patronage, academic environment, influential personalities, etc.) that have shaped the development of the social sciences and their relationships with the wider society. We will also consider the relations of the social sciences to the natural sciences in historical and philosophical perspectives.


Course Information

  • Course Code: HPS2009H
  • Course Delivery: On Campus
  • Course Credits: 0.5 cc