Alfred Louchs classic demolition of the scientific pretenses of the social studies remains unmatched in its philosophical insight and polemical impact. Since the first edition of Explanation and Human Action, fashions and theories in social science have changed, but Louchs fundamental analysis remains valid: understanding human actions can never be achieved by simply taking over theories and experimental procedures from the physical sciences. For human actions have an ineradicable moral interior which can never be revealed by behavioral externalities.
For the CYBEREDITIONS edition of Explanation and Human Action, Louch has included a new introduction discussing the latest turns in the human sciences toward evolutionary psychology. He remains refreshingly skeptical of any dogma, no matter how seductive, that pretends to reduce the conceptual processes of human agency to neurons, natural selection, or replicating molecules. While neither Luddite nor anti-science, Louch uses the sharpest tools of philosophical analysis to show the limits of science applied to the human condition.
Louch does a remarkably convincing job of blending fact and value. Highly readable...should be required reading for philosophy and social science majors, but is especially suited to graduate students in these areas. - Choice
Explanation and Human Action is an incisive and sophisticated analysis of the nature of human action and of the types of explanation appropriate to it, and at the same time a vigorous attack upon the generalising proclivities of those social scientists of a positivist or behaviourist persuasion....The value of such an extreme view, when it is presented with the intelligence, force and perceptiveness which Mr. Louch displays, is that it will oblige the social scientist, in a salutary fashion, to look again at what he is doing and what he has achieved. - Times LiterarySupplement
I have just finished reading your book, Explanation and Human Action. It's a fine book and at least near the edge of being a great one. I shall let things simmer for a while before I can make up my mind on which side of this line it falls. It's also excellently written; even my editorially inflamed eye could hardly find anything to grumble at. It's very encouraging to read a book which one can wholeheartedly admire and envy. - Gilbert Ryle, in a personal letter to the author
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