Synthese 68 (1):99 - 128 (1986)
The purpose of this essay is to investigate the properties of singular causal systems and their population manifestations, with special concern for the thesis of methodological individualism, which claims that there are no properties of social groups that cannot be adequately explained exclusively by reference to properties of individual members of those groups, i.e., at the level of individuals. Individuals, however, may be viewed as singular causal systems, i.e., as instantiations of (arrangements of) dispositional properties. From this perspective, methodological individualism appears to be an ambiguous thesis: some properties of collections of (independent) systems of the same kind are reducible, but other properties of collections of (dependent) systems of the same kind are not. In cases of the first kind, therefore, methodological individualism is true, but trivial; while in cases of the second kind, it is significant, but false. Hence, if the arguments that follow are correct, at least some of the properties of social groups should qualify as emergent.
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How Probabilistic Causation Can Account for the Use of Mechanistic Evidence.Erik Weber - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (3):277-295.
Methodological Individualism, Psychological Individualism and the Defense of Reason.Richard Schmitt - 1989 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 19 (sup1):231-253.
Old Problems for a New Theory: Mayo on Giere's Theory of Causation.Ellery Eells & Elliott Sober - 1987 - Philosophical Studies 52 (3):291 - 307.
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