Reason and cause (2020)
social science and the social world
Philosophy and social science assume that reason and cause are objective and universally applicable concepts. Through close readings of ancient and modern philosophy, history and literature, Richard Ned Lebow demonstrates that these concepts are actually specific to time and place. He traces their parallel evolution by focusing on classical Athens, the Enlightenment through Victorian England, and the early twentieth century. This important book shows how and why understandings of reason and cause have developed and evolved, in response to what kind of stimuli, and what this says about the relationship between social science and the social world in which it is conducted. Lebow argues that authors reflecting on their own social context use specific constructions of these categories as central arguments about the human condition. This highly original study will make an immediate impact across a number of fields with its rigorous research and the development of an innovative historicised epistemology.