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Le principe de rationalité et l'unité des sciences sociales

Listed author(s):
  • Philippe Mongin

[fre] Le principe de rationalité et l'unité des sciences sociales L'article réexamine le principe de rationalité sous l'angle particulier de l'unité des sciences sociales. On a pu défendre l'idée que le principe constituait l'unique loi des sciences sociales, de sorte que celles-ci ne se distingueraient pas profondément entre elles (Popper). On a tout aussi bien défendu l'idée que le principe séparait l'économie, vue comme science des actions rationnelles, et les autres sciences sociales, notamment la sociologie (Pareto). L'article récuse ces thèses opposées à partir de deux considérations générales : le principe a un caractère strictement métaphysique et il n'a pas la force logique requise pour qu'on en tire des déductions intéressantes. L'explication dans les sciences sociales se place à un niveau de spécificité toujours plus grand que celui du principe lui-même. Mais elle se distingue en économie par un degré de spécification extrême des schèmes rationnels qui sous-tendent l'explication ; il en résulte un va-et-vient entre le particulier et le général qui n'a pas d'analogue dans les autres sciences sociales. [eng] The rationality principle and the unity of the social sciences The paper revisits the rationality principle from the particular perspective ofthe unity of social sciences. It has been argued that the principle was the unique law of the social sciences and that accordingly there are no deep differences between them (Popper). It has also been argued that the rationality principle was specifie to economics as opposed to the other social sciences, especially sociology (Pareto). The paper rejects these opposite views on the grounds that the rationality principle is strictly metaphysical and does not have the logical force required to deliver interesting deductions. Explanation in the social sciences takes place at a level of specialization that is always higher than that of the principle itself. However, what is peculiar about economies is that it specializes the explanatory rational schemes to a degree unparalled in history and sociology. As a consequence, there is a backward-and-forward move between specifie and general formulations of rationality that takes place in economics and has no analogue in the other social sciences.

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Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Revue économique.

Volume (Year): 53 (2002)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 301-323

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Handle: RePEc:prs:reveco:reco_0035-2764_2002_num_53_2_410407
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