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ERIC Number: EJ854072
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Sep
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0895-4852
Social Sciences and the Unity of Truth
Franck, Matthew J.
Academic Questions, v15 n4 p67-77 Sep 2002
Criticisms of the various social sciences from within their ranks are not a new thing, but recent years have seen such criticisms reach a pitch that make them hard to ignore. What they seem to have in common is the charge that this or that social science has become an enterprise that serious people have trouble taking seriously, because the most important questions are dodged in the name of "science" or "objectivity," or because its practitioners have become unreflective partisans of some (usually leftist) ideology--or both. Now there is, as there has always been, a danger that the classroom--not to mention social science scholarship--will be merely politicized, a soapbox for the opinions of the professor, an ideological warm bath in which students are invited to soak themselves until they feel virtuous and clean. The author of this article argues that we should recapture the theory but not the practice of the classical college of the early nineteenth century. That college was right to believe that there is a "unity of truth" we aspire to understand, and to take the moral mission of college education seriously. What each of the social sciences can do is to approach the moral questions within its purview humbly, seriously, non-ideologically, intent upon sharpening the reasoning faculties of students and teachers alike, together, in an enterprise that is worth the whole of our lives. The events of 11 September should have reawakened us to the fact that the world is not only diverse but dangerous, and that therefore we need a sound education in moral inquiry more than ever. Whether the social sciences have it in them any longer to contribute to that education remains to be seen. (Contains 19 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A