Methodological individualism and explanation

Philosophy of Science 57 (1):133-140 (1990)
This critical note concerns Harold Kincaid's "Reduction, Explanation and Empiricism" (this journal, December 1986). Kincaid criticizes methodological individualism on several grounds. The present note argues that Kincaid fails at least in his attempt to show that it is false that individualistic theory suffices to fully explain social phenomena. Kincaid's main reason for claiming that individualistic theory is insufficient is that it cannot adequately explain social kinds. The present note contends that an individualist can suitably reinterpret the social talk in question and so succeed in explaining social phenomena. In some cases his explanatory factors will presumably be direct counterparts to the holist's explanatory social kinds, whereas in some other cases they may not be--arguably need not be
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DOI 10.1086/289535
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