Objectivity in Social Research

Myrdal, Gunnar

The ethos of social science is the search for "objective" truth. The faith of the student is his conviction that truth is wholesome and that illusions are damaging, especially opportunistic ones. He seeks "realism," a term which in one of its meanings denotes an "objective" view of reality. The most fundamental methodological problems facing the social scientist are therefore, what is objectivity, and how can the student attain objectivity in trying to find out the facts and the causal relationships between facts? The social scientist faces the further problem: how can he be in this sense objective and, at the same time, practical? What is the relation between wanting to understand and wanting to change society? How can the search for true knowledge be combined with moral and political valuations? How can truth be related to ideals?

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