Here’s some beautiful writing from Max Weber on how the validity of social science is rooted in the values and meaning that we attach to it.
The objective validity of all empirical knowledge rests exclusively upon the ordering of the given reality according to categories which are subjective in a specific sense, namely, in that they present the presuppositions of our knowledge and are based on the presupposition of the value of those truths which empirical knowledge alone is able to give us.…These value-ideas are for their part empirically discoverable and analyzable as elements of meaningful human conduct, but their validity can not be deduced from empirical data as such. The “objectivity” of the social sciences depends rather on the fact that the empirical data are always related to those value-ideas which alone make them worth knowing and the significance of the empirical data is derived from these value-ideas.
And while you puzzle over what makes empirical data “worth knowing” I leave you with Weber’s own celebration of a complex reality that social science can only order if it has a clear purpose.
Life with its irrational reality and its store of possible meanings is inexhaustible. Theconcrete form in which value-relationship occurs remains perpetually in flux, ever subject to change in the dimly seen future of human culture. The light which emanates from those highest value-ideas always falls on an ever changing finite segment of the vast chaotic stream of events, which flows away through time.