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  1. added 2019-09-09
    Two of a Kind: Are Norms of Honor a Species of Morality?Toby Handfield & John Thrasher - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (3):39.
    Should the norms of honor cultures be classified as a variety of morality? In this paper, we address this question by considering various empirical bases on which norms can be taxonomically organised. This question is of interest both as an exercise in philosophy of social science, and for its potential implications in meta-ethical debates. Using recent data from anthropology and evolutionary game theory, we argue that the most productive classification emphasizes the strategic role that moral norms play in generating assurance (...)
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  2. added 2019-08-14
    On Ordered Pluralism.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Australasian Philosophical Review 3 (1).
    This paper examines Miranda Fricker’s method of paradigm-based explanation and in particular its promise of yielding an ordered pluralism. Fricker’s starting point is a schism between two conceptions of forgiveness, Moral Justice Forgiveness and Gifted Forgiveness. In the light of a hypothesis about the basic point of forgiveness, she reveals the unity underlying the initially baffling plurality and brings order into it, presenting a paradigmatic form of forgiveness as explanatorily basic and other forms as derivative. The resulting picture, she claims, (...)
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  3. added 2019-07-29
    The Role of Power in Social Explanation.Torsten Menge - 2018 - European Journal of Social Theory 21 (1):22 - 38.
    Power is often taken to be a central concept in social and political thought that can contribute to the explanation of many different social phenomena. This article argues that in order to play this role, a general theory of power is required to identify a stable causal capacity, one that does not depend on idiosyncratic social conditions and can thus exert its characteristic influence in a wide range of cases. It considers three promising strategies for such a theory, which ground (...)
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  4. added 2019-06-05
    Book Reviews : The Concept of Social Change, A Critique of the Functionalist Theory of Social Change. By ANTHONY D. SMITH. London and Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, I973. Pp. Ix+I98. $6.25. [REVIEW]Harold Fallding - 1975 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 5 (2):223-227.
  5. added 2018-12-07
    Revealing Social Functions Through Pragmatic Genealogies.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - In Rebekka Hufendiek, Daniel James & Raphael Van Riel (eds.), Social Functions in Philosophy: Metaphysical, Normative, and Methodological Perspectives. London: Routledge. pp. 00-00.
    There is an under-appreciated tradition of genealogical explanation that is centrally concerned with social functions. I shall refer to it as the tradition of pragmatic genealogy. It runs from David Hume (T, 3.2.2) and the early Friedrich Nietzsche (TL) through E. J. Craig (1990, 1993) to Bernard Williams (2002) and Miranda Fricker (2007). These pragmatic genealogists start out with a description of an avowedly fictional “state of nature” and end up ascribing social functions to particular building blocks of our practices (...)
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  6. added 2018-08-29
    Modéliser le social. Méthodes fondatrices et évolutions récentes.Franck Varenne - 2011 - Paris, France: Dunod.
    Cet ouvrage très pédagogique informe les étudiants sur les méthodes quantitatives les plus classiques comme les plus récentes en sciences sociales, et notamment sur les différentes pratiques de modélisation et de simulation informatique des systèmes sociaux (sciences sociales computationnelles ou modèles informatiques).
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  7. added 2018-06-01
    Philosophie der Soziologie.Simon Lohse & Jens Greve - 2017 - In Simon Lohse & Thomas A. C. Reydon (eds.), Grundriss Wissenschaftsphilosophie. Die Philosophien der Einzelwissenschaften. Hamburg, Deutschland: pp. 543-582.
    Die Einleitung unseres Kapitels bietet eine grundsäzliche Charakterisierung der Soziologie und zeichnet einige wichtige historische Entwicklungslinien der Philosophie der Soziologie (PdS) nach. Im Hauptteil werden zentrale ontologische sowie ausgewählte explanatorische Themen der PdS vorgestellt. Im Schlussteil sollen einige aktuelle Diskussionen umrissen werden.
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  8. added 2018-06-01
    Robert Merton and Dorothy Emmet: Deflated Functionalism and Structuralism.Stephen P. Turner - 2014 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44 (6):817-836.
    Dorothy Emmet, in two books, one of which was based on extensive personal contact with Robert Merton and Columbia sociology, provides the closest thing we have to an authorized philosophical defense of Merton. It features a deflationary account of functionalism which dispenses with the idea of general teleological ends. What it replaces it with is an account of “structures” that have various consequences and that are maintained because, on Emmet’s account, of the mutual reinforcement of motives produced by the structure.
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  9. added 2018-06-01
    Cause, the Persistence of Teleology, and the Origins of the Philosophy of Social Science.Stephen Turner - 2003 - In Stephen P. Turner and Paul Roth (ed.), Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of the Social Sciences. pp. 21-42.
    The subject of this chapter is the complex and confusing course of the discussion of cause and teleology before and during the period of Mill and Comte, and its aftermath up to the early years of the twentieth century in the thinking of several of the major founding figures of disciplinary social science. The discussion focused on the problem of the sufficiency of causal explanations, and particularly the question of whether some particular fact could be explained without appeal to purpose. (...)
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  10. added 2018-06-01
    The End of Functionalism. Parsons, Merton and Their Heirs.Stephen P. Turner - 1993 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 23 (2):228-242.
  11. added 2018-03-21
    Open Data, Open Review and Open Dialogue in Making Social Sciences Plausible.Quan-Hoang Vuong - 2017 - Nature: Scientific Data Updates 2017.
    Nowadays, protecting trust in social sciences also means engaging in open community dialogue, which helps to safeguard robustness and improve efficiency of research methods. The combination of open data, open review and open dialogue may sound simple but implementation in the real world will not be straightforward. However, in view of Begley and Ellis’s (2012) statement that, “the scientific process demands the highest standards of quality, ethics and rigour,” they are worth implementing. More importantly, they are feasible to work on (...)
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  12. added 2018-03-17
    An Evolutionary Psychology Model of Ego, Risk, and Cognitive Dissonance.Baruch Feldman - manuscript
    I propose a novel model of the human ego (which I define as the tendency to measure one’s value based on extrinsic success rather than intrinsic aptitude or ability). I further propose the conjecture that ego so defined both is a non-adaptive by-product of evolutionary pressures, and has some evolutionary value as an adaptation (protecting self-interest). I explore ramifications of this model, including how it mediates individuals’ reactions to perceived and actual limits of their power, their ability to cope with (...)
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  13. added 2018-02-22
    G. A. Cohen's Functional Explanation.Agar Joly - 2003 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 33 (3):291-310.
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  14. added 2018-02-17
    Explaining Norms (Paperback).Geoffrey Brennan, Lina Eriksson, Robert E. Goodin & Nicholas Southwood - 2013 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Norms are a pervasive yet mysterious feature of social life. In Explaining Norms, four philosophers and social scientists team up to grapple with some of the many mysteries, offering a comprehensive account of norms: what they are; how and why they emerge, persist and change; and how they work.
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  15. added 2018-02-17
    Explaining Culture: A Naturalistic Approach, by Dan Sperber. [REVIEW]Mahesh Ananth - 2001 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 31 (4):563-571.
  16. added 2017-11-08
    Rationality and Transitivity in Social Explanation: Logical-Mathematical Aspects.Ioan Biriș - 2015 - Balkan Journal of Philosophy 7 (1):65-70.
    The term “rationality” is applied to many different things, from beliefs and preferences to decisions and choices, actions and behaviors, people, collectivities, andinstitutions. Therefore this paper will limit its considerations only to social preferences and choices in order to clarify the role of rationality in social explanation. The paper will focus on degrees of rationality, calling upon the concept of transitivity for help.
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  17. added 2017-04-07
    Trivers-Willard Rules for Sex Allocation.Judith L. Anderson & Charles B. Crawford - 1993 - Human Nature 4 (2):137-174.
    We present a quantitative model of sex allocation to investigate whether the simple “rules of thumb” suggested by Trivers and Willard (1973) would really maximize numbers of grandchildren in human populations. Using demographic data from the !Kung of southern Africa and the basic assumptions of the Trivers-Willard hypothesis, we calculate expected numbers of grandchildren based on age- and sex-specific reproductive value. Patterns of parental investment that would maximize numbers of expected grandchildren often differ from the Trivers-Willard rules. In particular, the (...)
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  18. added 2017-01-27
    Two Uses of Functional Explanation in Scientific Knowledge Socialized.B. Dajka - 1988 - Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 108:365-374.
  19. added 2017-01-20
    Making the Family Functional: The Case for Legalized Same-Sex Domestic Partnerships.Larry A. Hickman - 1999 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 29 (2):231-247.
    This essay argues that "the family" should be understood in functional terms:whatever functions as a family should have the legal status of a family. Theauthor's argument thus avoids two extreme positions. The first is the position ofthe hard-line "platonic" essentialists who, on grounds of nature, supernature, orcultural history, argue that a family unit must comprise heterosexual partners.The second is the position of the radical relativist, who argues that there are noessences whatsoever or that essences are purely arbitrary. Treating the family (...)
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  20. added 2017-01-20
    Functional Foibles and the Analysis of Social Change.Marvin B. Scott - 1966 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 9 (1-4):205 – 214.
    Functional analysis is the major theoretical perspective of contemporary sociology. Although many fruitful studies of social structure have resulted from the application of this perspective, it has been notably sterile in coping with questions of social change. Two major shortcomings of the functionalist view of change are here examined. The first type of shortcoming might be called 'evolutionary hangovers'. Under this heading we may include 'functional ahistoricism' and a 'commitment to progress'. The second major shortcoming refers to weaknesses of functional (...)
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  21. added 2017-01-19
    Historical Materialism, Dispositions, and Functional Explanation.Steven Walt - 1986 - Ethics 97 (1):196-218.
  22. added 2016-12-09
    Why Inferential Statistics Are Inappropriate for Development Studies and How the Same Data Can Be Better Used.Ballinger Clint - manuscript
    The purpose of this paper is twofold: -/- 1) to highlight the widely ignored but fundamental problem of ‘superpopulations’ for the use of inferential statistics in development studies. We do not to dwell on this problem however as it has been sufficiently discussed in older papers by statisticians that social scientists have nevertheless long chosen to ignore; the interested reader can turn to those for greater detail. -/- 2) to show that descriptive statistics both avoid the problem of superpopulations and (...)
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  23. added 2016-07-04
    The Function of Morality.Nicholas Smyth - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (5):1127-1144.
    What is the function of morality? On this question, something approaching a consensus has recently emerged. Impressed by developments in evolutionary theory, many philosophers now tell us that the function of morality is to reduce social tensions, and to thereby enable a society to efficiently promote the well-being of its members. In this paper, I subject this consensus to rigorous scrutiny, arguing that the functional hypothesis in question is not well supported. In particular, I attack the supposed evidential relation between (...)
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  24. added 2016-02-08
    Functionalist Response-Dependence Avoids Missing Explanations.D. J. Bradley - 2011 - Analysis 71 (2):297-300.
    I argue that there is a flaw in the way that response-dependence has been formulated in the literature, and this flawed formulation has been correctly attacked by Mark Johnston’s Missing Explanation Argument (1993, 1998). Moving to a better formulation, which is analogous to the move from behaviourism to functionalism, avoids the Missing Explanation Argument.
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  25. added 2016-01-27
    Morality or "False Consciousness"? How Moral Naturalists Can Answer Thrasymachus's Challenge.Andres Luco - 2016 - Journal of Philosophical Research 41:371-400.
    In Book I of Plato’s Republic, Thrasymachus famously maintains that ideas of morality and justice are nothing more than an ideology indoctrinated in “the weaker” to benefit “the stronger.” This is Thrasymachus’s challenge to morality: the thesis that some social arrangements, including some moral norms, are products of ‘false consciousness.’ False consciousness occurs when a dominant social group shapes the beliefs and desires of a subordinate group in such a way that the subordinates act for the benefit of the dominants, (...)
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  26. added 2015-10-19
    Rational Analysis, Intractability, and the Prospects of ‘as If’-Explanations.Iris van Rooij, Cory D. Wright, Johan Kwisthout & Todd Wareham - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):491-510.
    Despite their success in describing and predicting cognitive behavior, the plausibility of so-called ‘rational explanations’ is often contested on the grounds of computational intractability. Several cognitive scientists have argued that such intractability is an orthogonal pseudoproblem, however, since rational explanations account for the ‘why’ of cognition but are agnostic about the ‘how’. Their central premise is that humans do not actually perform the rational calculations posited by their models, but only act as if they do. Whether or not the problem (...)
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  27. added 2015-09-08
    On Purposeful Systems.Russell L. Ackoff & Fred E. Emery - 1976 - Philosophy of Science 43 (3):456-458.
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  28. added 2015-09-04
    The Growth of Knowledge in Social Science and Humanities.Rinat M. Nugayev - 2007 - Voprosi Filosofii (The Problems of Philosophy) (8):58-69.
    Criteria of the growth of knowledge proposed in modern philosophy of science are considered. It is argued that the model of growth that fits the peculiarities of social sciences&humanities is provided by the methodology of scientific research programmes. Yet one has to correct some drawbacks. The author concludes that the real growth of knowledge consists in the growth of causal explanations and in the corresponding growth of empirical content of the theories from superseeding scientific research programmes. -/- Key words: R.Rorty, (...)
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  29. added 2015-05-04
    Social Selection, Agents' Intentions, and Functional Explanation.K. Brad Wray - 2002 - Analyse & Kritik 24 (1):72-86.
    Jon Elster and Daniel Little have criticized social scientists for appealing to a mechanism of social selection in functional explanations of social practices. Both believe that there is no such mechanism operative in the social world. I develop and defend an account of functional explanation in which a mechanism of social selection figures centrally. In addition to developing an account of social selection, I clarify what functional hypotheses purport to claim, and re-examine the role of agents, intentions in functional explanations (...)
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  30. added 2015-04-22
    Explanation in Social Science. [REVIEW]I. C. Jarvie - 1964 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 15 (57):62-72.
  31. added 2015-03-19
    A Note on Mandelbaum's ‘G. A. Cohen's Defense of Functional Explanation’.S. Walt - 1983 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 13 (4):483-485.
  32. added 2015-02-27
    Gender Is a Natural Kind with a Historical Essence.Theodore Bach - 2012 - Ethics 122 (2):231-272.
    Traditional debate on the metaphysics of gender has been a contrast of essentialist and social-constructionist positions. The standard reaction to this opposition is that neither position alone has the theoretical resources required to satisfy an equitable politics. This has caused a number of theorists to suggest ways in which gender is unified on the basis of social rather than biological characteristics but is “real” or “objective” nonetheless – a position I term social objectivism. This essay begins by making explicit the (...)
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  33. added 2015-02-06
    I modelli in economia.Alessandra Basso & Caterina Marchionni - 2015 - Aphex 11.
    The paper reviews the philosophical literature on the epistemology of modelling in contemporary economics. In particular, it focuses on open questions concerning the epistemic role of models, the validity of inferences from the models to the world, and the legitimacy of their use for purposes of explanation, prediction and intervention.
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  34. added 2015-02-02
    Practical Rationality in Social Scientific Explanation: The Case of Residential Segregation.Terrence Kelly - 2004 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (1):3-19.
    Residential segregation according to race remains fairly entrenched in parts of the United States despite the fact that public attitudes toward racial integration have become dramatically more positive. This incongruity is often explained in terms of the irrationality of agents, whereby the agents’ support of integration is undermined by systematic/unconscious racism. The author argues that such accounts present an implausible model of practical rationality and places too great a justificatory burden on the critic/observer perspective. As an alternative, he suggests the (...)
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  35. added 2015-01-19
    The Perils of Tweaking: How to Use Macrodata to Set Parameters in Complex Simulation Models.Brian Epstein & Patrick Forber - 2013 - Synthese 190 (2):203-218.
    When can macroscopic data about a system be used to set parameters in a microfoundational simulation? We examine the epistemic viability of tweaking parameter values to generate a better fit between the outcome of a simulation and the available observational data. We restrict our focus to microfoundational simulations—those simulations that attempt to replicate the macrobehavior of a target system by modeling interactions between microentities. We argue that tweaking can be effective but that there are two central risks. First, tweaking risks (...)
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  36. added 2015-01-12
    Explanatory Pluralism and Complementarity. From Autonomy to Integration.Marchionni Caterina - 2008 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 38 (3):314-333.
  37. added 2015-01-12
    The Living Apart Together Relationship of Causation and Explanation.Jeroen Van Bouwel & Erik Weber - 2002 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 32 (4):560-569.
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  38. added 2014-12-22
    Functional Explanation and Metaphysical Individualism.Justin Schwartz - 1993 - Philosophy of Science 60 (2):278-301.
    G. A. Cohen defends and Jon Elster criticizes Marxist use of functional explanation. But Elster's mechanical conception of explanation is, contrary to Elster's claims, a better basis for vindication of functional explanation than Cohen's nomological conception, which cannot provide an adequate account of functional explanation. Elster also objects that functional explanation commits us to metaphysically bizarre collective subjects, but his argument requires an implausible reading of methodological individualism which involves an unattractive eliminativism about social phenomena.
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  39. added 2014-12-22
    Social Action-Functions.Raimo Tuomela - 1984 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 14 (2):133-147.
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  40. added 2014-12-22
    Operant Conditioning and Teleology.Douglas V. Porpora - 1980 - Philosophy of Science 47 (4):568-582.
    This paper defends the relevance of Taylor's (1964) critique of S-R behaviorism to Skinner's model of operant conditioning. In particular, it is argued against Ringen (1976) that the model of operant conditioning is a nonteleological variety of explanation. Operant conditioning is shown unable, on this account, to provide a parsimonious and predictive explanation of the behavior of higher level organisms. Finally, it is shown that the principle of operant conditioning implicitly assumes a teleological capacity, the admission of which renders the (...)
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  41. added 2014-12-22
    Functional Explanation and the Linguistic Analogy.Philippe Van Parijs - 1979 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 9 (4):425-443.
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  42. added 2014-12-22
    Functionalism, Causation and Explanation.Hugh V. Mclachlan - 1976 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 6 (3):235-240.
  43. added 2014-12-22
    II. Taylor on the Reduction of Teleological Laws.Joseph Margolis - 1968 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 11 (1-4):118-124.
  44. added 2014-12-21
    Functional Explanation and Virtual Selection.Philip Pettit - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (2):291-302.
    Invoking its social function can explain why we find a certain functional trait or institution only if we can identify a mechanism whereby the playing of the function connects with the explanandum. That is the main claim in the missing-mechanism critique of functionalism. Is it correct? Yes, if functional explanation is meant to make sense of the actual presence of the trait or institution. No, if it is meant to make sense of why the trait or institution is resilient: why (...)
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  45. added 2014-12-21
    A Biological Approach to Sociological Functionalism.Vernon Pratt - 1975 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 18 (4):371 – 389.
    The rationale for the common rejection of classical societal functionalism is that it entails treating a society as an intelligent purposer, capable of directing its own internal organization in furtherance of survival. But a more acceptable alternative account of the origins of a society's functional organization is conceivable: the individual unconsciously recognizes the needs of his group and directs his behaviour so that they are met. The plausibility of this explanation hangs on whether selection between groups occurs to any significant (...)
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  46. added 2014-11-24
    Assessing Functional Explanations in the Social Sciences.Harold Kincaid - 1990 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:341-354.
    Functionalism is a dominant but widely criticized perspective in social theory; my goal in this paper is to help clarify what functionalists claim, identify what would count as evidence for those claims and evaluate some standard criticisms. Functionalism relies essentially on functional explanations of the form "A exists in order to B." I point out problems with previous accounts of such explanations, offer an improved account, and discuss in detail evidence that might confirm such explanations and its difficulties. I argue (...)
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  47. added 2014-11-24
    The Concept of 'Function' and Functional Analysis in Sociology.Peter A. Munch - 1976 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 6 (3):193-213.
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  48. added 2014-11-24
    Book Review:Causation and Functionalism in Sociology Wsevolod W. Isajiw. [REVIEW]Alex C. Michalos - 1972 - Philosophy of Science 39 (1):86-.
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  49. added 2014-11-24
    Causation and Functionalism in Sociology By Wsevolod W. Isajiw. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1968. Pp. Vii, 158. 25s. [REVIEW]T. W. Settle - 1969 - Dialogue 8 (1):165-167.
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  50. added 2014-11-24
    Social Structures and Social Functions: The Emancipation of Structural Analysis in Sociology.Filippo Barbano - 1968 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 11 (1-4):40 – 84.
    Starting from R. K. Merton's now classic criticism of 'holistic' functionalism, i.e. of a functionalism which postulates social unity, universality and functional in-dispensability, the author stresses certain implications of this criticism more than they have been stressed hitherto. Classical and holistic functionalism) from H. Spencer, B. Malinowski, A. R. Radcliffe-Brown, etc to T. Parsons, postulates certain total unities (a global culture, an integrated system, etc.) in which each item (existence, actions, structures, etc.) is considered and defined on the grounds of (...)
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