David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 97 (2):183 - 207 (1993)
This article disputes the common view that social science explanations depend on discovery of lawlike generalizations from which descriptions of social outcomes can be derived. It distinguishes between governing and phenomenal regularities, and argues that social regularities are phenomenal rather than governing. In place of nomological deductive arguments, the article maintains that social explanations depend on the discovery of causal mechanisms underlying various social processes. The metaphysical correlate of this argument is that there are no social kinds: types of social entities that share a common casual constitution giving rise to strong regularities of behavior. The article turns next to a consideration of the character of social causation and argues for a microfoundational interpretation of social causation: social causal powers are embodied in the constraints and opportunities that institutions present to individual agents. Finally, it is noted that these arguments have consequences for the credibility of social predictions: it is argued that predictions in social science are generally unreliable.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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.
Citations of this work BETA
Keith R. Sawyer (2004). Social Explanation and Computational Simulation. Philosophical Explorations 7 (3):219 – 231.
Similar books and articles
Gary Goertz (2012). Descriptive-Causal Generalizations : "Empirical Laws" in the Social Sciences? In Harold Kincaid (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Social Science. Oxford University Press.
John R. Searle (1991). Intentionalistic Explanations in the Social Sciences. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 21 (3):332-344.
Daniel Steel (2004). Social Mechanisms and Causal Inference. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (1):55-78.
Lee C. McIntyre (2000). Reduction, Supervenience, and the Autonomy of Social Scientific Laws. Theory and Decision 48 (2):101-122.
Harold Kincaid (1990). Defending Laws in the Social Sciences. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 20 (1):56?83.
Francis Schrag (1983). Social Science and Social Practice. Inquiry 26 (1):107 – 124.
Thomas Brante (2008). Explanatory and Non-Explanatory Goals in the Social Sciences: A Reply to Reiss. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 38 (2):271-278.
Erik Weber (2007). Social Mechanisms, Causal Inference, and the Policy Relevance of Social Science. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 37 (3):348-359.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads15 ( #116,560 of 1,140,065 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #88,260 of 1,140,065 )
How can I increase my downloads?