Can Analytical Sociology Do without Methodological Individualism?

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 47 (6):379-409 (2017)
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Abstract

The explanatory power of structures in analytical sociologists’ agent-based models brings into question methodological individualism. We defend that from an explanatory point of view, the syntactic properties of models require semantic conditions of interpretation drawn from a conceptual research framework; in such a framework, social/relational structures have only partial, explanatory power ; and taking the explanation further through generative mechanism modeling necessitates calling upon methodological individualism’s generic framework of interpretation that relies on social actors’ rational capacity. According to this interpretive framework, forces in action in society are governed by the subjective meaning of/the reasons for individual actions.

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Denis Phan
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

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References found in this work

A realist theory of science.Roy Bhaskar - 1975 - New York: Routledge.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Foundations of Language 13 (1):145-151.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Philosophy of Science 42 (3):341-344.
Explanation and scientific understanding.Michael Friedman - 1974 - Journal of Philosophy 71 (1):5-19.

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