This was a great read, Maarten! I’ve spent much of the past half-decade reading, thinking, and writing about a number of the core issues you discuss in this piece. Based on the ideas you’ve explored, I suspect you’d really enjoy reading the following texts (if you haven’t already):Andrew Sayer — Method in Social Science (1992); C. Wright Mills — The Sociological Imagination (1959) (especially the section on ‘abstract empiricism’); and Pierre Bourdieu — “The Practice of Reflexive Sociology”, pp. 218–260 in An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology by Pierre Bourdieu and Loic Wacquant (1992).
Each of these texts explores epistemology, methodology, and ontology in very interesting and non-commonsensical ways.
If you’d like further recommendations, I’d be happy to provide some.