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Analytical Pragmatism: An Introduction to Relational Social Science (RSS00.04) - Closed

In this one-week online course you will be exploring one alternative way of doing social science with roots in the analytical approach of Max Weber and the reflections of key pragmatist thinkers.




    This course is closed, registration is no longer possible. 

    For various historical reasons, the social sciences, especially in the English-speaking world, have been dominated by neopositivism for decades. Indeed, neopositivism, with its commitment to the elucidation of nomothetic generalizations through a procedure of hypothesis-testing across multiple cases, is all too often mistaken for “the scientific method,” crowding out other approaches to knowledge-production. 

    The epistemic interests of neopositivist research are then mistaken for the goals of science per se, despite the fact that neopositivism doesn’t capture the actual practice of physical sciences like physics terribly well. The result of this methodological monoculture is that although we frequently have criticisms of neopositivism, we much less frequently have systematic explications of how to do empirical research that doesn’t conform more or less to neopositivist structures. Even rarer is non-neopositivist methodological exploration that tries to retain key notions like causation and generality, but doesn’t treat those notions in the conventional neopositivist manner. 

    This course will give you a grounding in precisely such an alternative: a non-neopositivist approach to social-scientific inquiry that emphasizes causal explanation and has a significant place for generality. Building on the work of Max Weber and the tradition of American pragmatism, the analytical pragmatist approach seeks to articulate and refine conceptual tools that can be used to produce case-specific explanations of otherwise-puzzling outcomes. 


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    Starting date

    10 June 2024, 9 am
    Educational method
    Main Language
    10 June 2024, 9 am - 14 June 2024, 5 pm
    Patrick Thaddeus Jackson
    Unique code


    Type of education
    Entry requirements
    Study load (ECTS)
    Radboud Summer School

    Online Course

    You will begin with the philosophical foundations of an analytical pragmatist approach, and proceed to consider some examples of work that incorporates this sensibility, and how that sensibility might inform your own work.

    After successful completion of this course you will have become familiar with at least one alternative to neopositivism as a research strategy in the social sciences.

    Online course

    This is an online course, which means that unfortunately the social activities of the Radboud Summer School do not apply to this course. In addition, the program will also differ from the weekly schedule published on the website. 

    Two weeks before the course starts you will be added to our online learning environment Brightspace, where the new times will be communicated.

    Patrick Thaddeus Jackson

    Patrick Thaddeus Jackson 

    Patrick Thaddeus Jackson is Professor of International Studies, and Chair of the Department of Global Inquiry, in the School of International Service at the American University in Washington, DC. His award-winning book "The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations" was published by Routledge in a second, revised edition in 2016. His new book entitled "Facts and Explanations in International Studies...and beyond" will also be published by Routledge in 2024.

    This course is closed, registration is no longer possible. 



    • Regular: €699 (application deadline 1st of May)
    • Student & PhD's: €466 (application deadline 1st of May)

    Discounts and Scholarships


    Level of participant: 

    • Master
    • PhD
    • Postdoc
    • Professional

    Admission requirements: None, however some background in philosophy of knowledge is a plus but not strictly necessary

    Admission documents: None