Defending laws in the social sciences

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 20 (1):56?83 (1990)
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This article defends laws in the social sciences. Arguments against social laws are considered and rejected based on the "open" nature of social theory, the multiple realizability of social predicates, the macro and/or teleological nature of social laws, and the inadequacies of belief-desire psychology. The more serious problem that social laws are usually qualified ceteris paribus is then considered. How the natural sciences handle ceteris paribus laws is discussed and it is argued that such procedures are possible in the social sciences. The article ends by arguing that at least some social research is roughly as well as confirmed as good work in evolutionary biology and ecology.



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References found in this work

Causal relations.Donald Davidson - 1967 - Journal of Philosophy 64 (21):691-703.
Folk psychology is here to stay.Terence Horgan & James Woodward - 1985 - Philosophical Review 94 (April):197-225.
On the prospects for a nomothetic theory of social structure.Douglas V. Porpora - 1983 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 13 (3):243–264.

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