Epistemology of social science


This class examines the conditions for ensuring the scientificity of research. We discuss the status of theoretical statements and their relationship to empirical observations. At the same time, attention is paid to the boundaries between scientific practice and other knowledge-based operations (expertise, journalistic investigations, etc.). For clarity purposes, we first present two symmetrical approaches (axiomatic and inductive approaches). We will then examine intermediate approaches (hypothetico-deductive and constructivist approaches). Attempts to go beyond these approaches are finally considered. In all cases, we will look at the epistemology of the natural sciences (Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, Feyerabend, etc.), the epistemology of the social sciences (Durkheim, Weber, Bourdieu, Passeron, Foucault, etc.) and the sociology of science (Bourdieu, Latour, Bloor, etc.) to find complementary tools.


  • Berthelot J.M. (dir.), Épistémologie des sciences sociales, Paris, PUF, 2012.
  • Chalmers Alan F., Qu’est-ce que la science ?, Paris, Éditions La Découverte, 1990.
  • Dubois M., Introduction à la sociologie des sciences, Paris, PUF, 1999.
  • Gingras Y., Sociologie des sciences, Paris, PUF, 2013.

In brief

Year Fourth year

Teaching languageFrench

Teaching term Six-monthly

ECTS credits 2.0

Number of hours 18.0

Teaching activityLecture course

ValidationFinal written examination

Mandatory teaching



Educational manager :
Roger Antoine [+]