Reduction in Sociology

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 42 (3):370-398 (2012)

William McGinley
University of South Australia
In grappling with the micro-macro problem in sociology, philosophers of the field are finding it increasingly useful to associate micro-sociology with theory reduction. In this article I argue that the association is ungrounded and undesirable. Although of a reductive "disposition," micro-sociological theories instantiate something more like "reductive explanation," whereby the causal roles of social wholes are explained in terms of their psychological parts. In this form, micro-sociological theories may actually have a better shot at closing the sociology–psychology explanatory gap, and resist many antireductionist arguments, including the well-known argument from "multiple realization."
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0048393111414394
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 38,984
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim - 2006 - Philosophical Quarterly 56 (223):306-310.
Special Sciences.Jerry A. Fodor - 1974 - Synthese 28 (2):97-115.

View all 54 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

World 3 and Methodological Individualism in Popper’s Thought.Francesco Di Iorio - 2016 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 46 (4):352-374.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Sociology Without Sociology.Hans J. Hummell & Karl-Dieter Opp - 1968 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 11 (1-4):205 – 226.
The Micro Contribution to Macro Sociology.Randall Collins - 1988 - Sociological Theory 6 (2):242-253.
Against Narrative: A Preface to Lyrical Sociology.Andrew Abbott - 2007 - Sociological Theory 25 (1):67-99.
Science Without Reduction.Helmut F. Spinner - 1973 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 16 (1-4):16 – 94.
Identity-Based Reduction and Reductive Explanation.Raphael van Riel - 2010 - Philosophia Naturalis 47 (1-2):183-219.
Establishment Sociology: The Value of Being Value-Free.Irving Louis Horowitz - 1963 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 6 (1-4):129 – 140.


Added to PP index

Total views
76 ( #94,029 of 2,319,639 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
45 ( #10,783 of 2,319,639 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature