Shrinking Merton

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (3):481-489 (2009)

Stephen Turner
University of South Florida
Agassi, Sztompka, Kincaid, and Crothers argue, in various ways, that Merton should not be held responsible for his published views on theory construction, and they provide psychological or strategic explanations for his failure to resolve issues with these views. I argue that this line of defense is unnecessary. A better case for Merton would be that theories in his middle-range sense were a nontechnical alternative solution to the problem of spurious correlation. Middle-range theory was not, however, a solution to the problem of diverse approaches. Merton also did not resolve the problems with his account of functionalism, and the problems undermine the claim that he had a distinctive “structural” approach all along
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DOI 10.1177/0048393109342715
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The Sociological Imagination.C. Wright Mills - 1960 - British Journal of Educational Studies 9 (1):75-76.
The Function of General Laws in History.Carl G. Hempel - 1942 - Journal of Philosophy 39 (2):35-48.
On the Definition of the Causal Relation.Herbert A. Simon - 1952 - Journal of Philosophy 49 (16):517-528.

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