OverviewThe status of the social sciences as knowledge presents two fundamental problems. The first is epistemological: in what sense is the subject of the social sciences known and knowable? The second is pragmatic: can knowledge generated by the social sciences be applied, and with what consequences? In this book Nico Stehr offers a major reassessment of the latter question.From the position of confidence adopted by nineteenth-century founding figures such as Compte and Marx, most social scientists have arrived at a much more limited view of the practical potential of social science knowledge. Nico Stehr argues that this loss of confidence stems from a partial understanding of the application of social science. In particular the current view is based on a specific model of theorizing and on an instrumental conception of the policy implications of social science.In the course of this reassessment Stehr examines the question of Keynesian economics: a classic case of the application of social science on a grand scale. To what extent can the political, social and economic policies pursued in Keynesian economics be related to Keynesian ideas as social science?Arguing for a reconception of the ways in which social science knowledge can be and is applied, this book will be of interest to a broad range of social scientists including social theorists, economic theorists, sociologiss of knowledge, historians of the social sciences and all those concerned with the relation of social sciences to public policy.