By Robert Brown
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Additional resources for Explanation in Social Science
What, then, of 1950 ? or 1850 ? If the reply is * We don't have that information', our point is made; for the statement seems to be applicable to a rather indefinite past, present, and future, and this fact is indicated by the employment of the timeless present tense. Eggan's essay is not primarily concerned, as is Wright's essay, with the dated development of specific processes and with the associated sequences of events. The origin, development, and end of the Hano kinship system remain unknown.
Walsh: An Introduction to Philosophy of History, 1951 Chapter 2. 26 SOCIAL OBSERVATION scientist to relate and explain these laws, in turn, by means of theories. The scientist tries to exhibit particular occurrences as explicable instances of more general connections. The historian is interested in the occurrences themselves; he wishes to know how they came to be as they are. Where the scientist looks for the similarities among events in order that he may bring them under the scope of some generalization, the historian emphasizes those properties of events which mark off one event from another.
Clearly not as science', it may be said; yet as what kind of history ? Is it not an unusual historical work that is concerned with what is likely to happen in the future? Still, it seems unreasonable to argue that simply by changing all the present and future tenses in Wright's article into the appropriate past forms we change a piece of political science into a piece of historical research. Yet this seems to be all that is required to turn this article into one which fulfills completely the demands made by our criteria.
Explanation in Social Science by Robert Brown