Reduction in Sociology

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 42 (3):370-398 (2012)
In grappling with the micro-macro problem in sociology, philosophers of the field are finding it increasingly useful to associate micro-sociology with theory reduction. In this article I argue that the association is ungrounded and undesirable. Although of a reductive "disposition," micro-sociological theories instantiate something more like "reductive explanation," whereby the causal roles of social wholes are explained in terms of their psychological parts. In this form, micro-sociological theories may actually have a better shot at closing the sociology–psychology explanatory gap, and resist many antireductionist arguments, including the well-known argument from "multiple realization."
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