Epistemological Consequences of the Fact/Value Dichotomy for Methodology of the Social Sciences

This paper addresses Hilary Putnam's criticism of the fact/value dichotomy established by Hume and developed by logical empiricists. It draws out the epistemological implications of this criticism on the methodology of social and human sciences. I argue that this criticism paves the way for a new conception of the relationship between naturalism and normativity. Such a conception is embedded in an original epistemological attitude crystallized in later years of Putnam's philosophical journey, which he calls "liberal naturalism". This attitude recognizes the importance of values in social sciences, whether epistemic or ethical. It also enacts a new conception of the relationship between the natural and social sciences. Furthermore, some structural methodological difficulties render Arab social sciences ineffective to face their epistemological crisis are set out. This situation of emerges in their failure to appropriately deal with the fact-value dichotomy.

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This paper addresses Hilary Putnam's criticism of the fact/value dichotomy established by Hume and developed by logical empiricists. It draws out the epistemological implications of this criticism on the methodology of social and human sciences. I argue that this criticism paves the way for a new conception of the relationship between naturalism and normativity. Such a conception is embedded in an original epistemological attitude crystallized in later years of Putnam's philosophical journey, which he calls "liberal naturalism". This attitude recognizes the importance of values in social sciences, whether epistemic or ethical. It also enacts a new conception of the relationship between the natural and social sciences. Furthermore, some structural methodological difficulties render Arab social sciences ineffective to face their epistemological crisis are set out. This situation of emerges in their failure to appropriately deal with the fact-value dichotomy.

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