This essay examines the relationship between social theory and social problems, the truth-value of theories, and the importance of theorizing about the role of the state, i.e., national government, in the resolution of social problems and the achievement of social justice. The author argues that much contemporary social theory has lost its moorings in regard to amelioration ofsocial problems, that Popper's criterion offalsification is a requisitefor more meaningfully applied social theory, and that the state should be part of any social theory meant to address social problems. Moral and political philosophy is used to provide criteria to justify a positive rolefor government to develop and implement policies to achieve a more justice society than would be the case if market mechanisms were deemed the most appropriate arbiter of economic and social exchange. The author concludes with examples of his own theoretically driven and empirically grounded research on social justice to tie together the elaborated themes of social theory, falsification, and retaining the state as an object of theoretical inquiry when addressing social problems.
Caputo, Richard K.
"Social Theory & Its Relation to Social Problems: An Essay about Theory and Research with Social Justice in Mind,"
The Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare: Vol. 34
, Article 4.
Available at: http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/jssw/vol34/iss1/4