MM Jayawardena, WAAK Amaratunga
Abstract: The practicability and the deliverability of research outcomes in social sciences have been rather questionable. In this context, interpretivism has become popular in social science research as it enables to capture more crucial qualitative information, which is based on inferences of sensory expressions rather than on direct information gathered through sensory organs. Although qualitative information cannot be numerically assessed, it is important in the deliverability of research outcomes. So, interpretivists believe that through a study of individual inferences, the reality of the research context can be better captured as it goes in-depth into the research issue while digging into the roots of individual human behaviour. Therefore, interpretivists argue that they can reach practicable outcomes that deliver a valid contribution at individual level as well as at societal level. On the other hand, some argue that as interpretivism does not have a constructive and strong theoretical base like in positivism, the research outcomes become subjective and less scientific. Addressing this criticism, Max Weber articulated verstehen (intuitive doctrine) and the Ideal Type referring to the society of the research context focused on by the researcher. As per Weber, it can be derived from the respective culture, religious beliefs, and traditions of the particular society. Based on this conceptual background, Weber has studied the Indian subcontinent referring to Hinduism, Buddhism and other cultures and beliefs as the Ideal Type, and he has come to a conclusion that Marxism has neither been able to explain the Indian society, nor is it applicable to economic problems of the societies of the Indian subcontinent. However, Max Weber who sought for the Ideal Type of the Indian subcontinent was not able to penetrate the original and pristine Buddhist thoughts. Instead, he has based his theories on the erroneous and more mundane Buddhism, which is trapped with the consciousness of secular-centered aspirations of individuals and organizations. Therefore, Max Weber has apparently failed in deriving the real verstehen or the Ideal Type of the Indian subcontinent. Even though western philosophers including Max Weber and his followers have attempted to interpret the behaviour of individuals by addressing on verstehen and on the Ideal Type for which they have referred to interpretivism, they seem to have ended up with theoretical issues due to the failure in exploring the reality which is in essence beyond logic. Therefore, the authors argue in this paper that an in-depth analysis on pristine Buddha Dhamma can bridge this gap in interpretivism as a research methodology. Here, the authors propose that the pristine Buddha Dhamma (different from traditional Buddhism) enables the provision of a constructive theoretical base for interpretivism. As per the pristine Buddha Dhamma, the cause and effect, Pattichcha Samuppada enables to explain the past, present and future of human action and behaviour through the individuals experiential knowledge (wisdom), which enables him or her to reach the different phases of cessation of suffering, starting from Sothapaththi. The paper discusses how pristine Buddha Dhamma could be used to clear out the theoretical issues of Max Webers verstehen or the Ideal Type making it possible to reach practicable and deliverable research outcomes for social science problems.
Keywords: Interpretivism, Human Behaviour, verstehen, the Ideal Type Pristine Buddha Dhamma Experiential Knowledge, Pattichcha Samuppada, Sothapaththi