Methodological Individualism and Vertical Integration in the Social Sciences

Behavior and Philosophy 25 (2):121 - 136 (1997)
This paper argues against the false dichotomy between reductionism and holism in the social sciences. I make the points that reductionism is the mark of a mature science, that the social sciences will never progress until they drop their opposition to reductionism, that higher-level explanations, even when more appropriate and coherent than reductionist explanations, must not violate principles established at lower levels of explanation, and that reductionist explanations almost always absorb the explanatory efficiency of broad social categorizations and add incremental validity to them. I demonstrate the validity of these points by exploring them in the context of the four most frequently used variables in social science (gender, race, age, and social class). In each case it is demonstrated that such categories fail to capture the causes of the phenomena social scientists explore, and that by failing to consider more elemental explanations lead to reliance on hypothetical "social facts" which are at best incomplete, and are often demonstrably wrong. The history of science reveals that all disciplines at one time or another have resisted the incursions of the more fundamental sciences, then showed a grudging acceptance of them, and finally became fully integrated with them. The social sciences must do the same with regard to integration with the relevant biological sciences.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 27,621
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Intentionalistic Explanations in the Social Sciences.John R. Searle - 1991 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 21 (3):332-344.
Value-Neutrality and Criticism.Gerhard Zecha - 1992 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 23 (1):153-164.
Religion and the Human Mind: Philosophical Perspectives on the Cognitive Science of Religion.Aku Visala - 2008 - Neue Zeitschrift für Systematicsche Theologie Und Religionsphilosophie 50 (2):109-130.
Poppers Methodologischer Individualismus Und Die Sozialwissenschaften.Marco Buzzoni - 2004 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 35 (1):157-173.
Eliminativism and Methodological Individualism.Harold Kincaid - 1990 - Philosophy of Science 57 (1):141-148.
Evolutionary Social Science Beyond Culture.Harold Kincaid - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):356-356.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

17 ( #283,597 of 2,169,086 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #186,456 of 2,169,086 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums