David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Sociological Theory 5 (2):172-184 (1987)
The lack of "progress" in theory is often contrasted to progress in statistical methodology. The relation between the two bodies of thinking is itself problematic, however, for the particular advances in method that have occurred in quantitative sociology reflect a trade-off in which the results are characterized by the radical underdetermination of models by data and a high level of slack between measures and theoretical concepts. Both of these problems are usually understood as matters of "error," and thus as potentially eliminable, but this claim is highly questionable, on grounds evident from Pearson's philosophy of science. The implications of large ineliminable error for the project of theory construction, particularly the "formal theory" of Blau and the California Positivists, is discussed. The ease of producing statistical results is an achievement, but one that leads away from theory rather than toward it, and, because the fact of underdetermination prevents these results from establishing clear cognitive superiority over the results of other "approaches," theoretical diversity is, in a sense, a consequence of the properties of the dominant statistical tradition in sociology
|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
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
I. A. Kieseppä (2001). Statistical Model Selection Criteria and the Philosophical Problem of Underdetermination. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (4):761 - 794.
Randall Collins (1984). Statistics Versus Words. Sociological Theory 2:329-362.
Samir Okasha (2000). The Underdetermination of Theory by Data and the "Strong Programme" in the Sociology of Knowledge. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 14 (3):283 – 297.
Kent W. Staley (2002). What Experiment Did We Just Do? Counterfactual Error Statistics and Uncertainties About the Reference Class. Philosophy of Science 69 (2):279-299.
Kent W. Staley (2002). What Experiment Did We Just Do? Philosophy of Science 69 (2):279-99.
John Gardenier (2012). Recommendations for Describing Statistical Studies and Results in General Readership Science and Engineering Journals. Science and Engineering Ethics 18 (4):651-662.
Wendy S. Parker (2008). Computer Simulation Through an Error-Statistical Lens. Synthese 163 (3):371 - 384.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads21 ( #188,894 of 1,934,445 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #434,193 of 1,934,445 )
How can I increase my downloads?