Who is Peter Winch

Peter Winch was a British philosopher known for his contributions in the philosophy of Social science. His concerns were regarding the nature of philosophy and the society.  He argued against the view that in order to understand social life, the social sciences should adopt the methods of the natural sciences (D. Z. Phillips, 1997). He said that it is important to pay attention to the places and the way of living to which a person belongs. Winch wants philosophy to tell us how human beings make sense of the reality in which they live in and how their reality is made intelligible(Lerner, 2002).

Winch’s ContributionsHe has contributions in the fields of ethics, to the understanding of the Holocaust, to the philosophy of literature, to Wittgenstein scholarship, and in translating some of the Wittgenstein’s work. (Read). One of his most popular contributions to philosophy is his writing in Wittgenstein (1969) which has the views of two different philosophers, the two Wittgensteins. Wherein the Wittgensteins’ view led to the misreading of all Wittgenstein works(Diamond, 2005).

According to Winch, philosophy cannot tell us everything about a particular phenomenon that occurs. It has something to do with the conditions that must be applied to reality in order for it to be accessible to human.Winch also has his fair share of contributions in the philosophy of religion and the positivist approach in the social sciences. His greatest work that contributed largely in the world of Philosophy and Social sciences is “The idea of a social science and its relation to philosophy”.

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Other works include Understanding a Primitive Society in 1972, Studies in the Philosophy of Wittgenstein in 1969, Ethics and Action in 1972, Simone Weil, the Just Balance in 1989 and Trying to Make Sense in 1987.However, the most noteworthy contribution of Winch is his work on the writings of Wittgenstein. Winch said in that work that whichever philosophy or social science which failed to recognize human action is not worthy in understanding social aspects of human actions. However, while Collingwood saw the study of history as not that easy to understand. Winch attacked the social sciences for treating human beings as if they were physical objects or some other substance for scientific experiments. Winch claimed that most of sociology is in fact not a kind of science, but a masked form of philosophy.Quotations from his Winch’s worksA remarkable example from the book Idea of Social science (which also one of his remarkable works) is stated in the following sentences. Winch said “I have wanted to explain by examples that a new way of discussion adequately is significant to the level of new ideas that implies a fresh set of social affairs. Likewise with the dying out of a way of communication. Taking into the concept of friendship; as read in Penelope Hall’s book The Social Services of Modern England (Routledge), it is the duty of the social worker to be friends with her client yet she must also take into account the obligation she has on the agency that she is employed. These may create a conflict as it has been understood, which has embarked on the division of loyalty as it may prove to be double dealing. The scope to which the old idea gives way to a new one may indicate that social relationship is poor (or if anyone would contest it to their own value and moral attitude at least it is bound to change). It does not mean that when a simple change in the meaning of a word would prevent people from having relationship with the people that they want, this state fails to see that our dialogue and social relations are just two different things with the same makeup. This implies that in order to explain the meaning of a word it must be represented on how it is used, and to describe how it used it must express the social interaction it is in.” Winch stated “in considering the nature of thought one is led also to consider the nature of language”(Lerner, 2002) he believes that one does not have to be scientist with a cognitive thought to understand human thoughts. He believes that in order to understand the society, it is not mainly the positivist way of understanding things which leads the way nor how people perceive the way things are working out but it must also be set out on different aspect because understanding humans is about dealing with different complex structures that cannot be focused on one aspect only. According to Winch, in order to understand the way people behave, it is important that it is based on reality. It includes human activities and the nature of human society.It is through interpersonal relationships that reality is set out and carried, but intelligibility plays a crucial role too. According to Lerner, the concept of following rules and his identification of the following as the hallmark of specifically human behavior wherein Winch derives the central lessons of his philosophy. Winch’s theory is dependent on the rule following fallibility, understanding and reflectiveness. Fallibility, when rule is applied, is possible that the rule could have applied or misapplied in a situation, then the individual must then understand what rule they will apply and how it will reflect the rule that is applied in the situation. Lerner still argues that a rule determines that a behavior is in correct or incorrect depending on the circumstances that are presented. Another aspect is in the content of the rule; each action is classified as having been performed in accordance to the rule or against the rule. It is possible that one may say if a behavior is incorrect or correct with regards if no rules has been set, yet it is still dependent on the kind of understanding that we have. In understanding rules, it is important to take into account the ability of the person in following rules. It simply means that although one may carry or follow the rule, there are still chances that one may break the rule when they decide to. Reflectiveness on the other hand has a connection to the understanding in which understanding requires the awareness of the rule being followed. Reflection allows a role to be determined by the nature of the rule itself.When confronted with human behavior, a social scientist may have two approaches in investigating. These two approaches are the explanation and the interpretation. In explanation, it involves how a particular behavior belongs to a category of behaviors. In terms of rules, this category of behaviors is casually connected with the other conditions. Interpretation is somehow related with explanation. It means that for you to understand the behavior, you must first interpret it and expound it through explanation.Some of Winch’s Philosophies and IdealsWinch’s Wittgenstein-inspired review of positivism included both negative and affirmative dimensions. In his terms, it involved characterizations both of how the nature of social life should not be understood and investigated, and twinned but contrasting characterizations of its real nature and hence of how investigations and reflections concerning it ought to be conducted (Flatham, 2007).According to Creasman, from the idea of a Social Science and its relation to philosophy from the first passage“…the notion of following a rule is logically inseparable from the notion of making a mistake”, in learning to act morally, the rules that we follow are explained by defining what violates such rules which then helps set the boundaries for what is acceptable. Acceptable rule are the ones that judges the standards of morality and is tolerated by the society. Rules that are set out may break or make a society; it is within the scope of the rules that the society follows that makes it a standard and makes it morally acceptable. Although in this manner not everything in rules that is accepted is viewed morally this is contradictory to Winch because problems may rise in the consistency of the moral action when rules of that moral action is not known. Laws that can explain the past behaviors inaccurately may be mobilized to foresee or even control the future behavior for policy making. Until now well predictive sociology would not necessarily accomplish our outlook on society.Winch’s philosophy in social sciences revolves around the understanding that science itself is not only the basis of understanding human aspect. Science can investigate the nature itself as a cause and effect of real things but with philosophy it is the nature itself in general and not just its aspect. Winch adopts from Wittgenstein and others, there is no such thing as a fact (social or otherwise) apart from a ‘mechanism’ – a language-game, practice, form of life – the conventions and norms, rules and practices of which accord or assign to our perceiving and ideas, the standing of identifying this or that is different to an anything or a nothing. The fact that there is reality or what we call nature, it is our languages and from our constructions on how to interpret and apply them is somehow an idea but is reality itself. Winch’s makes it clear that different versions of this thinking have been expressed by the different philosophers that are inclined by Wittgenstein. According to Flatham a historian’s philosophy and thinking about the human sciences could readily identify numerous other ancestor and descendant to Wittgenstein in this respect (e.g. Montaigne, Vico and Hume, Nietzsche and James, Peter Strawson, Donald Davidson, Charles Taylor and Stanley Cavell, Heidegger, Derrida and Foucault) but Winch was certainly justified in foregrounding the perhaps rarely necessary character of these extents of Wittgenstein’s thinking.The differences among the frequent formulations of the understanding are not only of past interest but of ongoing philosophical and social scientific implication. But according to Winch these views are less important than underlining, to him the unique power of challenges that Wittgenstein’s modification of these ways of thinking posed to broadly received conceptions of philosophy, of society and social science. Several students of social life, mainly in the philosophy of social science, and in anthropology, history, and political, legal and social theory paid close and open attention to his related point of view in these rational domains. His domains that he fought with, therefore his arguments against them have definite even dated worth. Winch’s Wittgenstein-inspired review of positivism and positivist social science included both negative or privative and positive proportions. It draws in characterizations of how the character of social life should not be unstated and investigated, and twinned but contrasting character of its real nature and how investigations and reflections regarding it must to be conducted.The task of the natural scientist was to go through under the superficial and often mistaken ordinary language and usually accepted understandings of physical nature. On their views the study of social life could become really scientific only if and to the possibility that it set aside prevalently used and acknowledged languages and beliefs, traditions, conventions and policy; replacing them with concepts and categories, regularities, generalizations and that’s why explanations, are derived from systematic, statistical and ideally mathematically disciplined empirical investigations. Winch made few and reluctant concessions to this type of view. Instancing ‘liquidity preference’ as used by economists and alluding to similar ‘technical concepts’ employed by psychoanalysts, he allowed that the ‘reflective student’ of social life may find it necessary to use concepts which are not taken from the forms of activity which he is investigating. However, these technical concepts will mean a prior understanding of those other concepts which go to the actions under investigation. Even from the Wittgensteinian views with which it has unquestionable affinities, this is clearly an overstatement. Wittgenstein famously asserts that ‘Philosophy may in no way get in the way with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it and leaves everything as it is, if applied to the study of social life, would seem to support Winch’s point.According to Cockburn, Winch explore ideas condense in remarks which his attitude towards him is an approach towards a character in a richer and more helpful way than has any other philosopher. Winch developed these components in Wittgenstein’s philosophy in a way that brings out, the ethical concern, at the most basic level, of areas of our thought that philosophers have usually discussed in complete outlook from that feature. The idea that we can do the metaphysics first and deal with afterwards on, or leave to others, the ethics’ is, one that still dominates English language philosophy to its vast ruin. He is extremely grateful to Peter Winch for showing another way of doing philosophy; a way that restores to thinking a kind of importance that it has lost in the hands of many modern philosophers (Cockburn, 2007)The philosophy of social science is old as philosophy itself, the distinction between life and principle and the idea of rationality are dealt with by Aristotle. The precise emergence of a sub discipline of attitude with this name is a very new incidence, which in turn may itself have moved greater philosophical activity in the area. This signs is joined to the development and growth of social sciences. Social Science is all about social structures, norms and policy of behavior, assembly, exact manner of an individual act, are the things that is found in a typical person who has a good hold of common talk about social group and acquisition, voting and storing as the same as the social scientist. These raise the straight means, of philosophical questions about the existence of these things. Many of the philosophers are taking hold of the principle agreement of science, they have held out the vision that social science can be derived from and is reducible to psychology. For these thinkers, they view the world as a simpler place with different conducts to converse on while others are struck by reality and the reliability of the social world they are from which seems to astound their perception about it.

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Who is Peter Winch. (2019, Jun 20). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-essay-who-is-peter-winch/

Who is Peter Winch
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