An obstacle to unification in biological social science: Formal and compositional styles of science

I motivate the concept of styles of scientific investigation, and differentiate two styles, formal and compositional. Styles are ways of doing scientific research. Radically different styles exist. I explore the possibility of the unification of biology and social science, as well as the possibility of unifying the two styles I identify. Recent attempts at unifying biology and social science have been premised almost exclusively on the formal style. Through the use of a historical example of defenders of compositional biological social science, the Ecology Group at the University of Chicago from, roughly, the 1930s to the 1950s, I attempt to show the coherence and possibility, if not utility, of employing the compositional style to effect the synthesis of biology and social science. I also relate the efforts of the Ecology Group to those of investigators in the Sociology Department of the University of Chicago. In my conclusion, I discuss the usefulness both of employing the category of styles of scientific investigation in historical and philosophical studies of science, as well as the concept of compositionality in scientific studies. I end the paper with some tentative suggestions regarding the importance of compositionality for an analysis of human society.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 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 Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther, An obstacle to unification in biological social science: Formal and compositional styles of science
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.

Citations of this work BETA
Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther, Ryan Giordano, Michael D. Edge & Rasmus Nielsen (2015). The Mind, the Lab, and the Field: Three Kinds of Populations in Scientific Practice. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 52:12-21.
Christian Baron (2013). The Handicap Principle and the Argument of Subversion From Within. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 44 (3):347-355.
Similar books and articles
Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther (2012). Interweaving Categories: Styles, Paradigms, and Models. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (4):628-639.
Wlodek Zadrozny (1994). From Compositional to Systematic Semantics. Linguistics and Philosophy 17 (4):329 - 342.
Dominic Lopes (1992). Pictures, Styles and Purposes. British Journal of Aesthetics 32 (4):330-341.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

143 ( #9,647 of 1,700,240 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

32 ( #18,820 of 1,700,240 )

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.