Theorienreduktion in den sozialwissenschaften. Eine fallstudie am beispiel der balancetheorien

Theory Reduction in the Social Sciences. The example of balance theories. A central topic both in philosophy of science as well as in the empirical sciences is the reconstruction of the relations between theories. In the past comparisons of theories by means of traditional linguistic methods have proved to be extremely difficult and complicated. In this article the reconstruction of intertheoretical relations based on model-theoretical terms is propagated, as formulated within the structuralist view of theories. The efficiency of a model theoretical based comparison of theories is demonstrated by two theory elements from the social science research program of balance theories: The basic element by Heider and the transitivity theory by Holland and Leinhardt. First of all both theory elements are introduced informally and reconstructed in the structuralist format. On the basis of these reconstructions can be shown, that the Heider theory can be formally reduced to the Holland-Leinhardt theory and that the theory younger in history means an improvement. However, an integration of all balance theoretical elements into a theory net is not possible.
Keywords balance theories  intertheoretical relations  reduction  social sciences  structuralist reconstruction
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DOI 10.1023/A:1008278000826
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