Dialectical Social Science in the Age of Complexity

Author: King, Ian
Places dialectical thinking, theory, and method on a solid scientific footing with respect to the contemporary sciences of holistic-relationism; and offers a competing, even superior, philosophy of social science to the mainstream version of positivistic-behaviorism. It also indicates ways in which a dialectical, holistic-relational social science will help to shape a more democratic, humane style of politics and public policy. It subjects mainstream social science to a wholesale reorientation it its basic world view, epistemology, and methodology, and in doing so offers a valid prescription for a post-positivistic, post-behaviorist social science that is thoroughly scientifically grounded.


“Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Dr. King’s manuscript is the range of scholarly studies he draws on. A glance at his lengthy bibliography suggest what is included in his text. In addition to the wide range of sources, what strikes the reader is the fact that about 100 of them have been published within the last ten to fifteen years. In short, Dr. King has done an excellent job in pulling together a vast amount of current thinking – much of it on the cutting edge of where things are headed. . . . . His ability to analyze and discuss highly abstract and complex concepts is truly impressive, and scholars with a similar background, especially if they have read widely, should find his manuscript an enjoyable and rewarding challenge.” – John A. Ziegler

“. . . this work is exceptional, making what is clearly an innovative argument in a cleanly developed manner.. . . I was quickly able to see how King’s argument about revitalizing dialectical thinking could apply to my own work in American politics. . . . King’s work has assisted me in seeing the limitations of traditional social scientific methodologies. . . the promotion of such rethinking in me argues for the ultimate success of King’s innovative approach.” – Jay Barth “. . . sure to engage and provoke its readers. King writes in a clear, accessible prose, and he has a generous and sympathetic way of bringing the reader into the argument. The philosophy of science has long-suffered from overstatement, inflated claims, and hyperbole. King’s treatment of these rhetorical excesses is deft and subtle, even while his criticisms can be sharp and cutting. But the effect is to get to the heart of the issues without distorting the difficulties they involve. King invites his readers to join him in a journey of difficult exploration. . . Even if readers don’t agree with everything King says, they won’t be able to ignore the questions he raises.” – Stephen Leonard

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
1. Introduction: Re-Affirming the Dialectic
2. Cavorting with Consilience
3. The Marxian Dialectic
4. The Holistic-Relational Sciences
5. Homology Attained, Consilience Redux
6. Applications of a Scientific (Holistic-Relational) Dialectical Methodology in the Social Sciences
7. Conclusion: The Political Consequences of Dialectical, Holistic-Relational Social Science
Bibliography; Index