Two formal questions are relevant with respect to the question of unifying the social sciences: First, would this synopsis really be sufficient for the satisfactory and exhaustive investigation of the study objects, amongst which culture, society and mind? Second: Would it be possible to safeguard the consistency of the proposed synopsis?
A rather underexplored area in socio-cultural anthropology and the social sciences in general is the body of questions that deal with the logical hierarchy of concepts. One of the few authors who paid attention to these questions was Gregory Bateson. The (im)possibility to distinguish levels in concept like ‘culture’, ‘society’ and ‘mind’ is relevant for the question whether or not the social sciences can be unified. As Bateson pointed out, logical hierarchy problems have been rarely systematically investigated, while it would have been most appropriate to do so with the help of analytical philosophy starting from Russell’s paradox.
If concepts can be used as a reference for a studied object as well as the environment in which one studies, the question of how to deal with levels within social sciences becomes pertinent. I denote the quest for a theory dealing with the hierarchy of analytical levels in social sciences as Bateson’s problem. Analytical philosophy, with such scholars like Russell, Gödel and Curry, can be a great help when investigating Baseton’s problem. In doing so, I intend to demonstrate that Bateson’s problem is of such a nature that something like a common foundation for all social sciences is not very likely.