Reduction, explanation, and individualism

Philosophy of Science 53 (4):492-513 (1986)
This paper contributes to the recently renewed debate over methodological individualism (MI) by carefully sorting out various individualist claims and by making use of recent work on reduction and explanation outside the social sciences. My major focus is on individualist claims about reduction and explanation. I argue that reductionist versions of MI fail for much the same reasons that mental predicates cannot be reduced to physical predicates and that attempts to establish reducibility by weakening the requirements for reduction also fail. I consider and reject a number of explanatory theses, among them the claims that any adequate theory must refer only to individuals and that individualist theory suffices to explain fully. The latter claim, I argue, is not entailed by the supervenience of social facts on individual facts. Lastly, I argue that there is one individualist restriction on explanation which is far more plausible and significant than one would initially suspect
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/289337
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,316
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 11 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

279 ( #9,604 of 1,932,585 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

10 ( #94,380 of 1,932,585 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.