The thesis begins with a criticism of the 'theory of meaning' approach to the philosophy of language. It then goes on to establish an account of language understanding in terms of Wittgenstein's comments on rule-following and meaning as use. This characterization is extended to aspects of the philosophy of social science. Inferences are then drawn, on the basis of this extension, as to the overall framework within which empirical
social studies should be located. A critical assessment is offered of a specific social scientific theory which is, in some ways, typical of empirical social research.
This criticism is followed by a formulation of an alternative approach to empirical questions in the social sciences. The alternative approach is depicted as more sympathetic to the general perspective on social scientific theories outlined earlier.