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The Flight from Reality in the Human Sciences
Ian Shapiro

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"Ian Shapiro's work has inspired a generation of both scholars and practitioners of politics--for the simple reason that he meets the standards of the former and the needs of the latter. In this book, he helps rescue the study of politics and society from moralists, who believe individuals have more control over their fates than history or economics would support, and from those scientists who view human behavior as mechanistic. He is a theoretician with solid grounding in the real world, a master-observer of the human capacity that is at the heart of the best and worst in political and social life--and everything in between: choice. He writes with a clarity that is refreshing as well as redolent of the confidence he rightly feels in his own judgments."--Strobe Talbott, President of the Brookings Institution

"With his characteristic boldness and insight, Ian Shapiro surveys the reigning theories in the social sciences and finds them wanting. A superb collection of essays from a trenchant critic."--Joyce Appleby, Professor Emerita of History, University of California, Los Angeles, author of Liberalism and Republicanism in the Historical Imagination

"Informed by normative political theory and the philosophy of science, and grounded in a deep knowledge of empirical studies in political science, Ian Shapiro's essays raise fundamental questions for those in all the disciplines--including law--who seek to understand and explain social behavior in the construction of decent public institutions."--Mark Tushnet, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law, Georgetown University

"It is always a pleasure to read Ian Shapiro's reflections on political theory, the methodology of political science, and on the state of the discipline. He is sceptical but not cynical, he is critical without malice, and he laces his insights with a dry wit that makes some sometimes quite tough argumentation unusually digestible. It is good to have these pieces so conveniently assembled in one place."--Alan Ryan, New College, Oxford

"This is an important book for two main reasons. First, its central argument is, undoubtedly, correct. Recent methodological advances in the social sciences, combined with pressures from increased professionalization, have rendered epidemic the 'pathologies' that are the book's subject. Second, Shapiro is one of only a handful of scholars who have drawn social scientists' attention to these problems. The tightly argued essays that comprise the book are written in a clear, jargon-free prose that will make them accessible to scholars across a range of fields and disciplines."--Clarissa Rile Hayward, Ohio State University, author of De-Facing Power

"This lucid, brilliant, and beautifully written volume of essays contributes substantially to our understanding of the philosophy and practice of research in the human sciences. Anyone undertaking such research, or interested in its results, will want to read it."--Elisabeth Ellis, Texas A&M University, author of Kant's Politics: Provisional Theory for an Uncertain World

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File created: 4/21/2017

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