In the previous post it was briefly explained that when it comes to studying and understanding society (which is largely the purpose of social sciences), the final goal should be to find models and methods for building a better social order, a better economy, a better political system etc. Explanatory theories (the classical scientific method) which focus on “why things are the way they are” may still be useful in so far as providing information, a sort of a prior experience (wisdom) to the current endeavours of society building but should never be considered the main purpose of social sciences. It shall now be further shown why “explanatory” approaches even when used as means of wisdom gathering still offer an incomplete view of the social world.

As previously explained, the way society is built is not independent of human actions. In fact humans are very capable in shaping the way they construct their political and economic systems. The myriad of economic systems and political systems that exist today and have existed throughout history lay testimony to the various ways in which humans can organize and reorganize themselves. In this maze of different ways of doing things there is supposedly some underlying explanation to why a certain social or political model was adopted at a certain point in history and geographical space. The logic is that once there is a good understanding of the mechanisms that created this economic and political model, then it should be much easier to understand its problems and if possible improve it/ change it accordingly.

While the above logic stands in theory, in practice there is a major obstacle in applying it because there is a lack of consensus on the best way to explain human social organisation. Without such a consensus any attempt to build a social organisation is the result of intuition rather than of knowledge. It is like when a cathedral starts to show cracks, but instead of having a solution which can be determined through logic and knowledge, there are tens of different plausible explanations to why the cracks appeared in the first place. Each of these explanations also point towards different solutions. As those who need to fix the cracks have no choice but to pick one solution and as it is impossible to objectively be certain which solution is the correct one, then they have no choice but to rely on personal experience and intuition (one can call this ideology) rather than knowledge. Obviously this is a problem because the chosen solution is likely to be only a temporary fix, if any fix at all. This is why, before discussing how to build society there should be at least some general consensus on the basic forces and rules that govern society building, independent of human actions. This is not necessary a theory but rather a set of universal acceptable truths about human interaction and human nature.

Continuation in part iii….pic