Visit our Christmas Gift Finder
The Saving Lie: Truth and Method in the Social Sciences (Hardback)
  • The Saving Lie: Truth and Method in the Social Sciences (Hardback)
zoom

The Saving Lie: Truth and Method in the Social Sciences (Hardback)

(author)
£52.00
Hardback 232 Pages / Published: 25/06/2003
  • We can order this

Usually dispatched within 4-6 weeks

  • This item has been added to your basket

This book explores the distinction between selflessness and self-interestedness, between acting for one's own advantage and acting, even when disadvantageous, for reasons of duty or conscience. This apparently straightforward contrast (exemplified in the difference between rational-choice models in economics and holistic models in social anthropology) is a source of confusion. This is so, F. G. Bailey argues, because people polarize and essentialize both actors and actions and uphold one or the other side of the contrast as concrete reality, as the truth about how the social world works. The task of The Saving Lie is to show that both versions are convenient fictions, with instrumental rather than ontological significance: they are not about truth but about power. At best they are tools that enable us to make sense of our experience; at the same time they are weapons we deploy to define situations and thus exercise control.

Bailey says that both models fail the test of empiricism: they can be at once immensely elegant and quite remote from anyone's experience in the real world. And since both models are "saving lies," we should accept them as necessities, but only to the extent they are useful, and we should constantly remind ourselves of their limitations. The wrong course, according to Bailey, is to promote one model to the total exclusion of the other. Instead, we should take care to examine systematically the rhetoric used to promote these models not only in intellectual discourse but also in defining situations in everyday life.

The book strongly and directly advocates a point of view that combines skepticism with a determination to anchor abstract argument in evidence. It is argumentative; it invites confrontation; yet it leaves many doors open for further thought.

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 9780812237306
Number of pages: 232
Weight: 501 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Ambitious, erudite, well worth a read."-Journal of Anthropological Research

You may also be interested in...

The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols
Added to basket
Consider The Lobster
Added to basket
The World Until Yesterday
Added to basket
Manchester, England
Added to basket
£11.99
Paperback
Guns, Germs And Steel
Added to basket
£10.99   £8.99
Paperback
Sapiens
Added to basket
£9.99   £7.49
Paperback
Culture And Imperialism
Added to basket
The Lost World Of The Kalahari
Added to basket
War: What is it good for?
Added to basket
Personality
Added to basket
£8.99
Paperback
Frozen in Time
Added to basket
£9.99
Paperback
Arabs in History
Added to basket
£12.99
Paperback
Forgotten Voices Of The Great War
Added to basket
A Dictionary of Sociology
Added to basket
Revolt Against the Modern World
Added to basket

Please sign in to write a review

Your review has been submitted successfully.