The Problem of Objectivity in Social Sciences
Monday, 09 March, 2015

On March 6th, ISET hosted Iago Kachkachishvili, Ph.D. under its Lecture Series of Distinguished Professors conducted in cooperation with Tbilisi State University. Iago Kachkachishvili is a Professor of Sociology, Head of the Department of Sociology and Social Work, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at Tbilisi State University.  Prof. Kachkachishvili delivered a lecture and presentation titled “The Problem of Objectivity in Social Sciences”.

The presenter started the seminar by acquainting the audience with his scientific background and path to sociology. Later he introduced the topic of the seminar.  In order to establish objectivity in social sciences, one has to agree that the source of the objective knowledge, somehow, lies in the socium, in the social domain and it might not be given from outside sources, such as god, religion, or something else. Prof. Kachkachishvili listed three characteristics necessary to establish objectivity.

Objectivity must always be related to so-called, “disinterestedness”, a collective social phenomenon, i.e. “social structure” and it might also be connected to collectivity, which has a pseudo-objective existence.  By disinterestedness is meant following: Objective knowledge can only be provided by a researcher who is emotionally disengaged, morally indifferent, and cognitively distant towards the object. After going through each characteristics prof. Kachkachishvili continued the seminar by describing different approaches of defining objectivity in social sciences, such as: positivism, ideal types, translation of “indexical expressions” into “objective expressions”. In the context of the last one, the presenter compared Art and Science to each other. Prof. Kachkachishvili finished the seminar by describing the postmodern approach of rejecting the objectivity that was followed by an intensive question and answer session.

ISET would like to thank Prof. Iago Kachkachishvili for giving an interesting lecture to the ISET community!