David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35 (3):324-338 (2005)
Descriptions of social norms can be explanatory. The erotetic approach to explanation provides a useful framework. I describe one very broad kind of explanation-seeking why-question, a genus that is common to the special sciences, and argue that descriptions of norms can serve as an answer to such why-questions. I draw upon Woodwards recent discussion of the explanatory role of generalizations with a significant degree of invariance. Descriptions of norms provide what is, in effect, a generalization regarding the kind of historically contingent system a group or society, a generalization with a significant degree of invariance. Key Words: explanation invariance norms social sciences erotetic laws.
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Todd Jones (2008). Explanations of Social Phenomena: Competing and Complementary Accounts. Metaphilosophy 39 (4-5):621-650.
Todd Jones (2012). Do Customs Compete with Conditioning? Turf Battles and Division of Labor in Social Explanation. Synthese 184 (3):407-430.
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