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The Reduction of Society: D. H. Mellor

Philosophy 57 (219):51-75 (1982)

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  1. Social Ontology.Brian Epstein - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Social ontology is the study of the nature and properties of the social world. It is concerned with analyzing the various entities in the world that arise from social interaction. -/- A prominent topic in social ontology is the analysis of social groups. Do social groups exist at all? If so, what sorts of entities are they, and how are they created? Is a social group distinct from the collection of people who are its members, and if so, how is (...)
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  • Nonreductive Individualism. Part I—Supervenience and Wild Disjunction.Sawyer R. Keith - 2002 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 32 (4):537-559.
    The author draws on arguments from contemporary philosophy of mind to provide an argument for sociological collectivism. This argument for nonreductive individualism accepts that only individuals exist but rejects methodological individualism. In Part I, the author presents the argument for nonreductive individualism by working through the implications of supervenience, multiple realizability, and wild disjunction in some detail. In Part II, he extends the argument to provide a defense for social causal laws, and this account of social causation does not require (...)
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  • Nonreductive Individualism: Part I—Supervenience and Wild Disjunction.R. Keith Sawyer - 2002 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 32 (4):537-559.
    The author draws on arguments from contemporary philosophy of mind to provide an argument for sociological collectivism. This argument for nonreductive individualism accepts that only individuals exist but rejects methodological individualism. In Part I, the author presents the argument for nonreductive individualism by working through the implications of supervenience, multiple realizability, and wild disjunction in some detail. In Part II, he extends the argument to provide a defense for social causal laws, and this account of social causation does not require (...)
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  • A Modest Proposal for Interpreting Structural Explanations.Mariam Thalos - 1998 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (2):279-295.
    Social sciences face a well-known problem, which is an instance of a general problem faced as well by psychological and biological sciences: the problem of establishing their legitimate existence alongside physics. This, as will become clear, is a problem in metaphysics. I will show how a new account of structural explanations, put forward by Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit, which is designed to solve this metaphysical problem with social sciences in mind, fails to treat the problem in any importantly new (...)
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  • Ontological Individualism Reconsidered.Brian Epstein - 2009 - Synthese 166 (1):187-213.
    The thesis of methodological individualism in social science is commonly divided into two different claims—explanatory individualism and ontological individualism. Ontological individualism is the thesis that facts about individuals exhaustively determine social facts. Initially taken to be a claim about the identity of groups with sets of individuals or their properties, ontological individualism has more recently been understood as a global supervenience claim. While explanatory individualism has remained controversial, ontological individualism thus understood is almost universally accepted. In this paper I argue (...)
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  • Is Multiple Realizability a Valid Argument Against Methodological Individualism?Branko Mitrović - 2017 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 47 (1):28-43.
    In recent decades, a number of authors have relied on the multiple realizability argument to reject methodological individualism. In this article, I argue that this strategy results in serious difficulties and makes it impossible to identify social entities and phenomena.
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  • The Location Problem in Social Ontology.Frank Hindriks - 2013 - Synthese 190 (3):413-437.
    Mental, mathematical, and moral facts are difficult to accommodate within an overall worldview due to the peculiar kinds of properties inherent to them. In this paper I argue that a significant class of social entities also presents us with an ontological puzzle that has thus far not been addressed satisfactorily. This puzzle relates to the location of certain social entities. Where, for instance, are organizations located? Where their members are, or where their designated offices are? Organizations depend on their members (...)
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  • Bunge and Hacking on Constructivism.Finn Collin - 2001 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 31 (3):424-453.
  • Nonreductive Individualism Part II—Social Causation.R. Keith Sawyer - 2003 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 33 (2):203-224.
    In Part I, the author argued for nonreductive individualism (NRI), an account of the individual-collective relation that is ontologically individualist yet rejects methodological individualism. However, because NRI is ontologically individualist, social entities and properties would seem to be only analytic constructs, and if so, they would seem to be epiphenomenal, since only real things can have causal power. In general, a nonreductionist account is a relatively weak defense of sociological explanation if it cannot provide an account of how social properties (...)
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  • Reduction in Sociology.William McGinley - 2012 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 42 (3):370-398.
    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 (...)
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  • Emergence in Sociology: A Critique of Nonreductive Individualism.Jens Greve - 2012 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 42 (2):188-223.
    The emergentist position that R. Keith Sawyer has formulated, nonreductive individualism, contains three propositions. First, that social characteristics must always be realized in individuals; second, that it is nevertheless possible to understand social properties as irreducible; and third, that therefore it is possible to demonstrate how social properties are able to exercise independent causal influences on individuals and their properties. It is demonstrated that Sawyer is not able to meet an objection that Kim has formulated against the analogous position in (...)
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  • Social Mereology.Katherine Hawley - 2017 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 3 (4):395-411.
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  • The Correlation Argument for Reductionism.Christopher Clarke - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (1):76-97.
    Reductionists say things like: all mental properties are physical properties; all normative properties are natural properties. I argue that the only way to resist reductionism is to deny that causation is difference making (thus making the epistemology of causation a mystery) or to deny that properties are individuated by their causal powers (thus making properties a mystery). That is to say, unless one is happy to deny supervenience, or to trivialize the debate over reductionism. To show this, I argue that (...)
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  • Emergence and Analytical Dualism.Shaun Le Boutillier - 2003 - Philosophica 71.