Empirical bioethics is commonly understood as integrating empirical research with normative-ethical research in order to address an ethical issue. Methodological analyses in empirical bioethics mainly focus on the integration of socio-empirical sciences and normative ethics. But while there are numerous multidisciplinary research projects combining life sciences and normative ethics, there is few explicit methodological reflection on how to integrate both fields, or about the goals and rationales of such interdisciplinary cooperation. In this paper we will review some drivers (...) for the tendency of empirical bioethics methodologies to focus on the collaboration of normative ethics with particularly socialsciences. Subsequently, we argue that the ends of empirical bioethics, not the empirical methods, are decisive for the question of which empirical disciplines can contribute to empirical bioethics in a meaningful way. Using already existing types of research integration as a springboard, five possible types of research which encompass life sciences and normative analysis will illustrate how such cooperation can be conceptualized from a methodological perspective within empirical bioethics. We will conclude with a reflection on the limitations and challenges of empirical bioethics research that integrates life sciences. (shrink)
When stripped to the bare bone, there are only 11 foundational paradigms in socialsciences. These foundational paradigms are like flashlights that can be utilized to shed light on different aspects of human society, but each of them can only shed light on a limited area of human society. Different schools in social science result from different but often incomplete combinations of these foundational paradigms. To adequately understand human society and its history, we need to deploy all (...) 11 foundational paradigms, although more limited combinations of them may be adequate for understanding more specific social facts. (shrink)
This volume is a unique contribution to the philosophy of the socialsciences, presenting the results of cutting-edge philosophers' research alongside critical discussions by practicing social scientists. The book is motivated by the view that the philosophy of the socialsciences cannot ignore the specific scientific practices according to which social scientific work is being conducted, and that it will be valuable only if it evolves in constant interaction with theoretical developments in (...) the socialsciences. With its unique format guaranteeing a genuine discussion between philosophers and social scientists, this thought-provoking volume extends the frontiers of the field. It will appeal to all scholars and students interested in the interplay between philosophy and the socialsciences. (shrink)
This is the definitive companion to the study of the philosophy of the socialsciences. It provides the student with an accessible, comprehensive and philosophically rigorous introduction to all the major philosophical concepts, issues and debates raised by the socialsciences. Ideal for use in undergraduate courses, the structure and content of this textbook-the most thorough, clearly argued and up-to-date available-closely reflect the way the philosophy of the socialsciences is studied and (...) taught. The text examines key conceptual and methodological questions in the socialsciences and illustrates how these shape the practice of research, the interpretation of findings and theory formulation in such disciplines as economics, political science and psychology. The book not only offers lucid and incisive coverage of the philosophy of the socialsciences, but also extends the major debates and considers the latest directions in this growing area of philosophical interest. Robert C. Bishop's cogent and rigorous analysis is supplemented by useful pedagogical features, including key examples from philosophical writing; summaries of core debates; sample questions and exercises; and guides for further reading. (shrink)
The global economic crisis makes closer collaboration between economics and other socialsciences even more urgent. One major cause of divergence has been the attitudes of the parties towards the ‘market’. Yet, the market economy, in all its diversity, is one of the immutable facts of modern life. Understanding the causes of its survival will improve the dialogue. Another interesting puzzle is the lack of credible alternatives to it despite the depth of the crisis. The experience of the (...) economists in constructing models of society based on the behaviour of individuals composing it can be valuable for other socialsciences. We apply the framework developed by ‘institutional economics’ to gain insights into the relations between Islam, capitalism and democracy. The article finishes with some observations on Turkey and draws lessons for other Muslim societies. (shrink)
This 1996 book defends the prospects for a science of society. It argues that behind the diverse methods of the natural sciences lies a common core of scientific rationality that the socialsciences can and sometimes do achieve. It also argues that good social science must be in part about large-scale social structures and processes and thus that methodological individualism is misguided. These theses are supported by a detailed discussion of actual social research, including (...) theories of agrarian revolution, organizational ecology, social theories of depression, and supply-demand explanations in economics. Professor Kincaid provides a general picture of explanation and confirmation in the socialsciences and discusses the nature of scientific rationality, functional explanation, optimality arguments, meaning and interpretation, the place of microfoundations in social explanation, the status of neo-classical economics, the role of idealizations and non-experimental evidence, and other specific controversies. (shrink)
During the past decade, social mechanisms and mechanism-based ex- planations have received considerable attention in the socialsciences as well as in the philosophy of science. This article critically reviews the most important philosophical and social science contributions to the mechanism approach. The first part discusses the idea of mechanism- based explanation from the point of view of philosophy of science and relates it to causation and to the covering-law account of explanation. The second (...) part focuses on how the idea of mechanisms has been used in the socialsciences. The final part discusses recent developments in analytical sociology, covering the nature of sociological explananda, the role of theory of action in mechanism-based explanations, Merton’s idea of middle-range theory, and the role of agent-based simulations in the development of mechanism-based explanations. (shrink)
In this ground-breaking new text, Patrick Baert analyses the central perspectives in the philosophy of social science, critically investigating the work of Durkheim, Weber, Popper, critical realism, critical theory, and Rorty's neo pragmatism. Places key writers in their social and political contexts, helping to make their ideas meaningful to students. Shows how these authors’ views have practical uses in empirical research. Lively approach that makes complex ideas understandable to upper-level students, as well as having scholarly appeal.
The dispute between the empiricist and interpretivist conceptions of the socialsciences is properly conceived not as a matter of reduction or covering laws. Features specific to the socialsciences include the following. Explanations of human behavior make reference to intentional causation; social phenomena are permeated with mental components and are self-referential; social science explanations have not been as successful as those in natural science because of their concern with intentional causation, because their explanations (...) must be identical with the propositional content of the mind of the actor, and because a social phenomenon exists only if people believe it exists. Elements of an apparatus necessary to analyze this problematic social ontology are given and include selfreferentiality, constitutive rules, collective intentionality, linguistic permeation of the facts, systematic interrelationships among social facts, and primacy of acts over objects. (shrink)
Originally published in 1986. All students of social science must confront a number of important philosophical issues. This introduction to the philosophy of the socialsciences provides coherent answers to questions about empiricism, explanation and rationality. It evaluates contemporary writings on the subject which can be as difficult as they are important to understand. Each chapter has an annotated bibliography to enable students to pursue the issues raised and to assess for themselves the arguments of the (...) authors. (shrink)
All univocal analyses of causation face counterexamples. An attractive response to this situation is to become a pluralist about causal relationships. "Causal pluralism" is itself, however, a pluralistic notion. In this article, I argue in favor of pluralism about concepts of cause in the socialsciences. The article will show that evidence for, inference from, and the purpose of causal claims are very closely linked. Key Words: causation • pluralism • evidence • methodology.
This article defends laws in the socialsciences. Arguments against social laws are considered and rejected based on the "open" nature of social theory, the multiple realizability of social predicates, the macro and/or teleological nature of social laws, and the inadequacies of belief-desire psychology. The more serious problem that social laws are usually qualified ceteris paribus is then considered. How the natural sciences handle ceteris paribus laws is discussed and it is argued (...) that such procedures are possible in the socialsciences. The article ends by arguing that at least some social research is roughly as well as confirmed as good work in evolutionary biology and ecology. (shrink)
It is an attempt to exemplify the style of Wierciński’s scientific approach. The first part presents his concept of the peculiarity of the specific human nature which is polarized into the animal side versus the human potential. The second part describes the anthropological concept of ideological development with the focus on the notion of ideological control subsystem. The latter can be employed as a tool of surveying the internal consistency of social organizations.
In everyday discourse and in the context of social scientific research we often attribute intentional states to groups. Contemporary approaches to group intentionality have either dismissed these attributions as metaphorical or provided an analysis of our attributions in terms of the intentional states of individuals in the group.Insection1, the author argues that these approaches are problematic. In sections 2 and 3, the author defends the view that certain groups are literally intentional agents. In section 4, the author argues that (...) there are significant reasons for social scientists and philosophers of social science to acknowledge the adequacy of macro-level explanations that involve the attribution of intentional states to groups. In section 5, the author considers and responds to some criticisms of the thesis she defends. (shrink)
After sorting different structuralist claims, I argue that structural realist ideas are instantiated in the socialsciences, providing both clarification of social science research and support for some components of structural realism. My main focus is on three distinct ways that the socialsciences can be about structural relations—exemplified by claims about social structure, reduced form structures in causal modeling, and equilibrium explanations—and on the implication of structuralist ideas for thinking about issues concerning causal (...) explanation and nonreductive pictures of the unity of the science. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, 900 13th Street South, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
Based on materials collected during a fieldwork in Barnaul (Siberia, Russia) in 2001–2004, the article explores two provincial academic discourses that are focused on issues of Russian national identity. Ethnohistories of trauma address Russia’s current problems through the constant re-writing of the country’s past in order to demonstrate the non-Russian character of its national and state institutions. In the second discourse, ethno-vitalism, the struggle over constructing and interpreting the nation’s memory of the past is replaced with a similar struggle over (...) constructing and interpreting perceptions of the nation’s current experience. Produced by professional intelligentsia, these frameworks and discourses provide a useful link to understanding imaginary constructions of the national belonging in a situation where more positive ways of inventing traditions and imagining communities are unavailable or discredited. (shrink)
The notion of 'natural kinds' has been central to contemporary discussions of metaphysics and philosophy of science. Although explicitly articulated by nineteenth-century philosophers like Mill, Whewell and Venn, it has a much older history dating back to Plato and Aristotle. In recent years, essentialism has been the dominant account of natural kinds among philosophers, but the essentialist view has encountered resistance, especially among naturalist metaphysicians and philosophers of science. Informed by detailed examination of classification in the natural and (...) class='Hi'>socialsciences, this book argues against essentialism and for a naturalist account of natural kinds. By looking at case studies drawn from diverse scientific disciplines, from fluid mechanics to virology and polymer science to psychiatry, the author argues that natural kinds are nodes in causal networks. On the basis of this account, he maintains that there can be natural kinds in the socialsciences as well as the natural sciences. (shrink)
This book is an expanded and revised edition of the author's critically acclaimed volume Nuts and Bolts for the SocialSciences. In twenty-six succinct chapters, Jon Elster provides an account of the nature of explanation in the socialsciences. He offers an overview of key explanatory mechanisms in the socialsciences, relying on hundreds of examples and drawing on a large variety of sources - psychology, behavioral economics, biology, political science, historical writings, philosophy (...) and fiction. Written in accessible and jargon-free language, Elster aims at accuracy and clarity while eschewing formal models. In a provocative conclusion, Elster defends the centrality of qualitative socialsciences in a two-front war against soft and hard forms of obscurantism. (shrink)
In this article, I will discuss two prominent views on the relevance and irrelevance of ontological investigations for the socialsciences, namely, ontological foundationalism and anti-ontological pragmatism. I will argue that both views are unsatisfactory. The subsequent part of the article will introduce an alternative role for ontological projects in the philosophy of the socialsciences that fares better in this respect by paying attention to the ontological assumptions of actual social scientific theories, models, (...) and related explanatory practices. I will illustrate and support this alternative through discussion of three concrete cases. (shrink)
This 1989 book is intended as an introductory survey of the philosophy of the socialsciences. It is essentially a work of exposition which offers a toolbox of mechanisms - nuts and bolts, cogs and wheels - that can be used to explain complex social phenomena. Within a brief compass, Jon Elster covers a vast range of topics. His point of departure is the conflict we all face between our desires and our opportunities. How can rational (...) choice theory help us understand our motivation and behaviour? More significantly, what happens when the theory breaks down but we still cleave to a belief in the power of the rational? Elster describes the fascinating range of forms of irrationality - wishful thinking, the phenomenon of sour grapes, discounting the future in noncooperative behaviour. This is a remarkably lucid and comprehensive introduction to the socialsciences for students of political science, philosophy, sociology and economics. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that dialogue between legal philosophers and social scientists can be mutually beneficial. Nicola Lacey offers a vision of jurisprudence that supposes as much. I start by setting out my interpretation of her view. I then defend its potential, which she takes for granted, from the challenges posed by, first, an apparent friend—Brian Leiter—and, second, obvious adversaries—Joseph Raz and others. My response proposes an alternative to their conceptions of legal philosophy, one that is consistent (...) with my understanding of the approach to jurisprudence that Lacey recommends. (shrink)
The Claims of Common Sense investigates the importance of ideas developed by Cambridge philosophers between the World Wars for the socialsciences concerning common sense, vague concepts and ordinary language. John Coates examines the thought of Moore, Ramsey, Wittgenstein and Keynes, and traces their common drift away from early beliefs about the need for precise concepts and a canonical notation in analysis. He argues that Keynes borrowed from Wittgenstein and Ramsey their reappraisal of vague concepts, and developed the (...) novel argument that when analysing something as complex as social reality, theory might be simplified by using concepts which lack sharp boundaries. Coates then contrasts this conclusion with the view shared by two contemporary philosophical paradigms - formal semantics and Continental post-structuralism - that the vagueness of ordinary language inevitably leads to interpretive indeterminacy. Developing a link between Cambridge philosophy and work on complexity, vague predicates and fuzzy logic, he argues that Wittgenstein's and Keynes's ideas on the economy of ordinary language present a mediating route for the socialsciences between these philosophical paradigms. (shrink)
Debates about explanation in the socialsciences often proceed without any clear idea what an 'account' of explanation should do. In this paper I take a stance - what I will call contextualism - that denies there are purely formal and conceptual constraints on explanation and takes standards of explanation to be substantive empirical claims, paradigmatically claims about causation. I then use this standpoint to argue for position on issues in the philosophy of social science concerning (...) reduction, idealized models, social mechanisms, functional explanations, inference to the best explanation and interpretive understanding. (shrink)
Using a base of philosophical athropology, this article suggests that an ethical analysis of persuasion must include not just the logic human response, but culture and experience as well. The authors propose potential maxims for ethical behavior in advertising and public relations and applies them to two case studies, political advertising and the Bridgestone/Firestone controversy.
This volume of essays deals with the problem of relativism, in particular cultural relativism. If our society knows better than other societies, how do we know that it knows better? There is a profound irony in the fact that this self-doubt has become most acute in the one civilisation that has persuaded the rest of the world to emulate it. The claim to cognitive superiority is often restricted, of course, to the limited sphere of natural science and technology; and that (...) immediately raises the second main theme of this volume - the differences between the human and natural sciences. These essays reach towards a new style and mode of enquiry - a mixture of philosophy, history and anthropology - that promises to prove more revealing and fruitful. (shrink)
Divided into two parts this book examines the train of social theory from the 19th century, through to the `organization of modernity', in relation to ideas of social planning, and as contributors to the `rationalistic revolution' of the `golden age' of capitalism in the 1950s and 60s. Part two examines key concepts in the socialsciences. It begins with some of the broadest concepts used by social scientists: choice, decision, action and institution and moves on (...) to examine the `collectivist alternative': the concepts of society, culture and polity, which are often dismissed as untenable by postmodernists today. This is a major contribution to contemporary social theory and provides a host of essential insights into the task of social science today. (shrink)