The Failure of the Best Arguments against Social Reduction (and What That Failure Doesn't Mean)

Southern Journal of Philosophy 41 (4):547-581 (2003)
Todd Jones
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
In this paper, I will argue that the most systematic arguments for the impossibility of reducing of social facts are not, in fact, good arguments. The best of these, the multiple realizability argument, has been very successful in convincing people to be non-reductionists in the philosophy of mind, and can plausibly be adapted to argue for anti-reductionism in the social sciences. But it, like the other arguments for the impossibility of social reduction, cannot deliver. Any preference we have for social scientific explanations that don't refer to properties of individuals should not be based on a belief in the impossibility of reduction.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0038-4283
DOI 10.1111/j.2041-6962.2003.tb00966.x
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Mind, Language, and Reality.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Cambridge University Press.

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Reduction in Sociology.W. McGinley - 2012 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 42 (3):370-398.
Norms and Customs: Causally Important or Causally Impotent?T. Jones - 2010 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 40 (3):399-432.

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