Philosophy of Social Science

Edited by Michiru Nagatsu (University of Helsinki)
Assistant editors: Päivi Seppälä, Alessandra Basso, Tarna Kannisto
About this topic
Summary The category "Philosophy of Social Science" can be used in two different ways: it can mean a subfield in the philosophy of science with its own tradition and focus on those issues arising from the studies of society and human nature, such as methodological individualism/holism, social ontology, objectivity and values, rationality, etc. The term can also be used as an umbrella category which refers to philosophical studies of all the social sciences broadly conceived, such as philosophy of economics, philosophy of sociology, philosophy of history, philosophy of anthropology, etc. In the latter case, sometimes "Philosophy of the Social Sciences" is preferred. PhilPapers' category is ambiguous because it covers both cases. You are more likely to find relevant references in "Philosophy of Social Science, misc" in the first sense, while you can navigate straight to a  sub-category (e.g. philosophy of economics) if you have a specific discipline in mind.
Key works There are several widely-read discipline-defining textbooks such as Rosenberg 1995 (3rd edition 2007 is available) and Elster 2012 (this is an updated version of his 1989), which mainly focus on the issues related to the explanation of human actions (interpretation, rationality, individualism, etc.). Little 1991 is another classic that discusses social scientific explanations more generally. Gordon 1991 and Manicas 1987 cover the history of social science. 
Introductions Ruben 1998 is a short introduction describing four approaches to study the philosophy of social science. Guala 2007 is a more updated overview of the recent trends and developments in the field.
In this area
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