from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adj. Of or relating to lawmaking; legislative.
- adj. Based on a system of law.
- adj. Of or relating to the philosophy of law.
- adj. Of or relating to the study or discovery of general scientific laws.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. defining laws
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Legislative; enacting laws.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Legislative; enacting laws.
- Pertaining to a nomothete, or to the body of nomothetes.
- Founded on a system of law or by a lawgiver; nomistic: as, nomothetic religions.
- Noting a science which aims at the discovery of universals or general laws: opposed to idiographic.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- adj. relating to or involving the search for abstract universal principles
First, there is a critique of the "nomothetic" quest -- the idea that the social sciences should discover social laws.
I believe the distinction by Wilhelm Dilthey between "nomothetic" (= positing laws) and "idiographic" (= describing individuals) sciences, is still much more fruitful than other approaches that tend to blur the dividing line.
On the one hand, Wilson has thus strengthened the Soviet element within "post-Soviet transitions" lending support to those researchers emphasizing the continued relevance of the ideographic element in â€ "as opposed to nomothetic approaches to â€" the study of contemporary Russia, Ukraine, etc.
Unlike the “nomothetic” knowledge that natural science seeks, what matters in historical science is not a universal law-like causality, but an understanding of the particular way in which an individual ascribes values to certain events and institutions or takes a position towards the general cultural values of his/her time under a unique, never-to-be-repeated constellation of historical circumstances.
Most of the studies presented in this book are nomothetic.
The nomothetic approach tries to draw inferences from a more limited exposure to a large number of cases.
Qualitative research may be idiographic or nomothetic.
Thus Windelband proposed that the natural sciences are nomothetic and the historical or cultural sciences ideographic.
Dilthey rejects Windelband's distinction by showing that many natural sciences have ideographic elements and many human sciences such as linguistics and economics have nomothetic aims.
It's also worth stating that one of the theoretical approaches associated with ethnographic research is an idiographic, rather than nomothetic, approach to data -- a concern with the particular, rather than the general.