Do customs compete with conditioning? Turf battles and division of labor in social explanation

Synthese 184 (3):407-430 (2012)
We often face a bewildering array of different explanations for the same social facts (e.g. biological, psychological, economic, and historical accounts). But we have few guidelines for whether and when we should think of different accounts as competing or compatible. In this paper, I offer some guidelines for understanding when custom or norm accounts do and don’t compete with other types of accounts. I describe two families of non-competing accounts: (1) explanations of different (but similarly described) facts, and (2) accounts which seem to differ but are really different parts or versions of the same underlying explanation. I argue that, while many types of apparent competitors don’t really compete with customs, there are some that do. I also describe some of the central problems, which suggest that custom accounts will compete poorly with their rivals.
Keywords Explanation  Causation  Levels  Custom  Norm  Social science  Disjunction
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-010-9794-3
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,810
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim - 2005 - Princeton University Press.

View all 32 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Understanding Science: Why Causes Are Not Enough.Ruth Berger - 1998 - Philosophy of Science 65 (2):306-332.
Contrastive Explanations as Social Accounts.Kareem Khalifa - 2010 - Social Epistemology 24 (4):263-284.
What's Done Here—Explaining Behavior in Terms of Customs and Norms.Todd Jones - 2007 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (3):363-393.
Explaining Brute Facts.Eric Barnes - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:61-68.
Explanation and Rationality Naturalized.David Henderson - 2010 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 40 (1):30-58.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
29 ( #183,322 of 2,202,781 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #301,722 of 2,202,781 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature