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Umbrellaology, or, Methodology in Social Science

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 March 2022

John Somerville*
Affiliation:
Hunter College, New York, N. Y.

Extract

Let us invoke philosophic license for a moment to suppose you receive the following letter:

“Dear Sir:

I am taking the liberty of calling upon you to be the judge in a dispute between me and an acquaintance who is no longer a friend. The question at issue is this: Is my creation, umbrellaology, a science? Allow me to explain this situation. For the past eighteen years, assisted by a few faithful disciples, I have been collecting materials on a subject hitherto almost wholly neglected by scientists, the umbrella. The results of my investigations to date are embodied in the nine volumes which I am sending to you under separate cover. Pending their receipt, let me describe to you briefly the nature of their contents and the method I pursued in compiling them. I began on the Island of Manhattan. Proceeding block by block, house by house, family by family and individual by individual I ascertained 1) the number of umbrellas possessed, 2) their size, 3) their weight, 4) their color. Having covered Manhattan after many years, I eventually extended the survey to the other boroughs of the City of New York, and at length completed the entire city. Thus I was ready to carry forward the work to the rest of the state and indeed the rest of the United States and the whole known world.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association 1941

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Footnotes

1

Delivered at the Fifth International Congress for the Unity of Science, Harvard, 1939.

10
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