By Jalal Heirannia

Theory is integrally and necessarily related to practice: professor

April 17, 2018

TEHRAN - Joanne K. Olson, Professor of Texas A&M University says “McKeon argued that theory is integrally and necessarily related to practice, and pointed out that "any problem pushed far enough is philosophic.”

Author of “On Knowing-The Social Sciences” also adds that “This book is a compilation of the contents of a course McKeon taught to undergraduate students in 1965, and is the second course in a series of three: On Knowing: The Natural Sciences (published in 1994 by the University of Chicago Press), On Knowing: The Social Sciences, and On Knowing: The Humanities (in preparation).”

Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: What has been your main question in “On Knowing-The Social Sciences”?

A: Richard McKeon introduces readers to the whole field of the social sciences by demonstrating the act of philosophizing about how to do philosophy. To do this, he articulates four modes of thought that are used to understand, investigate, and develop knowledge in the social sciences. McKeon argued that theory is integrally and necessarily related to practice, and pointed out that "any problem pushed far enough is philosophic." McKeon saw the purpose of his scholarship as ultimately being a prospective cultivation of communication among the diversity of individuals and cultures worldwide. The purpose of the "Social Sciences" work is to provide an introductory view of McKeon's approach to preparing for the future by means of developing a set of abilities that can enable reflective individuals not only to navigate through but also to invent fruitful possibilities among the world's cultures and the philosophies of those cultures.

Q: What was the necessity of writing this book?

A: Richard McKeon (1900-1985) was trained as a philosopher at Columbia University and in Europe just after World War I and spent most of his professional life, from 1934 to 1974, at the University of Chicago. McKeon was deeply involved with the founding of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and was a highly regarded philosopher and historian of philosophy. This book is a compilation of the contents of a course McKeon taught to undergraduate students in 1965, and is the second course in a series of three: On Knowing: The Natural Sciences (published in 1994 by the University of Chicago Press), On Knowing: The Social Sciences, and On Knowing: The Humanities (in preparation). The editors are committed to helping McKeon's work reach a broad audience given the importance of his work for these modern times.
 

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