Well, this appears to be a minefield of conflict and controversy, particularly surrounding theories, methods and methods of explanation.
It seems like common sense to me that you should use the tools that best suit the needs of what it is you want to achieve. But this highlights another issue surrounding the questions of what the actual aims of studies in the social sciences are about.
Still in its infancy, studies of human beings and how we interact in the social world is telling us much that we did not previously know about ourselves and about our assumptions of ourselves. A fascinating area of study that is inhibited by underlying ideologies and epistemological mistakes about individuals.
Before we move onto political philosophy proper it is important to know how we establish normative theories about our interactions with the state and the many structures and organisations underpinning its existence. This must be informed by the understanding generated by studies in the social sciences – mustn’t it?
It will be interesting to see how the social and political are treated – I have difficulty understanding why they are so distinct. They are treated as separate sciences outside philosophy, but surely the political is created out of a social need? So why then is political science treated as being prior to social? And even more importantly, why is political science seen as being if more import than other “social sciences”?
I suppose the question I’m really asking is why does our government consist primarily of graduates from the political and economic disciplines, with a dearth if those who have a greater understanding of human society in its wider sense?
I suppose I already know the answer – power. I wonder how the story will unfold…