Review of Metaphysics 25 (1):141-141 (1971)

This is an intelligently designed collection of essays dealing with a variety of key issues that are in the foreground of reflection on the social and behavioral sciences. The format followed is an ideal one: a key paper, a comment by a critic, and a reply. Thus, for example, Charles Taylor explains and defends teleological explanation of behavior and engages in an exchange with Robert Borger; and Noam Chomsky reviews the problems of explanation in linguistics and is challenged by Max Black. The quality of this volume is quite high and the contributors are leaders in their fields of inquiry. Not only are there explorations by philosophers but also by practicing behavioral scientists. This is therefore an excellent way of gaining an overview of some of the key issues concerning explanation in the behavioral sciences. But the volume is disappointing in breaking new ground. Many of the points and counterpoints made here can be found in other places, and frequently they are explored in greater detail in other places. The collection also reflects an Anglo-Saxon bias for there is little attempt to include any confrontations with the continental concern with the nature of explanation in the social sciences. A detailed bibliography might have helped to direct the reader to further discussion of the issues involved. But despite these limitations, this is an impressive series of confrontations.--R. J. B.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph1971251186
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