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ERIC Number: ED314320
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Jun-25
Pages: 18
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Social Sciences as Continuous with Literature.
Cherryholmes, Cleo H.
W. V. O. Quine's analysis of the analytic and synthetic distinction is discussed. The implications of his argument for science are stated as: (1) the importance of formal logic and proofs in science is reduced; (2) the importance of rhetoric in science is recognized; (3) the meaning of words cannot be fixed, and nonexistent identities between natural language terms cannot provide a foundation for science--there is no core structure or permanent foundation for scientific knowledge; and (4) pragmatism is central to scientific research and theory. Disciplinary knowledge is transitory and in the long run it turns out to be fictitious. Social scientists deal in fictions because there is no foundational knowledge. This gives them the luxury of using a wider range of criteria in assessing the stories they tell students, thus the continuity between the social sciences and literature. The stories still can be ranked as being more or less truthful because the social sciences have developed methodological guidelines for distinguishing better from worse stories. These guidelines indicate how to tell social scientific stories given what is currently thought to be the best ways to tell such stories. The stories can also be assessed in terms of aesthetics and ethics. By giving up the illusion of foundational knowledge, there is an opening for a richer, more complex, and possibly more humane approach to community building in education. A 9-item bibliography is included. (JB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A