Overcoming the Biases of Microfoundationalism: Social Mechanisms and Collective Agents

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 43 (3):301-322 (2013)
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The article makes four interrelated claims: (1) The mechanism approach to social explanation does not presuppose a commitment to the individual-level microfoundationalism. (2) The microfoundationalist requirement that explanatory social mechanisms should always consists of interacting individuals has given rise to problematic methodological biases in social research. (3) It is possible to specify a number of plausible candidates for social macro-mechanisms where interacting collective agents (e.g. formal organizations) form the core actors. (4) The distributed cognition perspective combined with organization studies could provide us with explanatory understanding of the emergent cognitive capacities of collective agents



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Tuukka Kaidesoja
University of Helsinki

Citations of this work

Methodological Holism in the Social Sciences.Julie Zahle - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Pragmatism, Ontology, and Philosophy of the Social Sciences in Practice.Simon Lohse - 2017 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 47 (1):3-27.
Optimism for Naturalized Social Metaphysics: A Reply to Hawley.Daniel Saunders - 2019 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 50 (2):138-160.
Mechanistic explanations and components of social mechanisms.Saúl Pérez-González - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (3):1-18.

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