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  1. Methodological Holism in the Social Sciences.Julie Zahle - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • The Cybernetic Revolution and the Forthcoming Epoch of Self-Regulating Systems.Leonud Grinin & Anton Grinin - 2016 - Moscow,Russia: "Uchitel" Publishing House.
    The monograph presents the ideas about the main changes that occurred in the development of technologies from the emergence of Homo sapiens till present time and outlines the prospects of their development in the next 30–60 years and in some respect until the end of the twenty-first century. What determines the transition of a society from one level of development to another? One of the most fundamental causes is the global technological transformations. Among all major technological breakthroughs in history the (...)
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  • Pragmatism, Ontology, and Philosophy of the Social Sciences in Practice.Simon Lohse - 2017 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 47 (1):3-27.
    In this article, I will discuss two prominent views on the relevance and irrelevance of ontological investigations for the social sciences, 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 social sciences 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 (...)
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  • Explanatory Autonomy and Coleman's Boat.Daniel Eastman Little - 2012 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 27 (2):137-151.
    The paper addresses the question of whether an actor-centered social ontology can admit of relatively autonomous social causal explanations. It endorses the requirement that social structures and causes require “microfoundations.” It argues that the examples of other special sciences demonstrate the relevance of the idea of “relative explanatory autonomy” in the case of social causal reasoning. These considerations provide a basis for affirming the legitimacy of causal statements about meso-level causal relations.
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  • Dialectics, Complexity,and the Systemic Approach: Toward a Critical Reconciliation.Poe Yu-ze Wan - 2013 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 43 (4):411-452.
    This article attempts to assess Mario Bunge’s important but widely neglected criticisms of dialectics. It begins by providing a contextualized interpretation of Friedrich Engels’s metaphysics of the dialectics of nature before embarking on a detailed discussion of Leon Trotsky’s and contemporary “dialectical” scientists’ views on materialist dialectics. It argues that while some of Bunge’s criticisms are eminently sensible, the principles underlying the works of dialectical scientists are compatible with Bunge’s emergentist and systemic approach and can shed light on such issues (...)
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  • Mechanisms and Functional Hypotheses in Social Science.Daniel Steel - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):941-952.
    Critics of functional explanations in social science maintain that such explanations are illegitimate unless a mechanism is specified. Others argue that mechanisms are not necessary for causal inference and that functional explanations are a type of causal claim that raise no special difficulties for testing. I show that there is indeed a special problem that confronts testing functional explanations resulting from their connection to second-order causal claims. I explain how mechanisms can resolve this difficulty, but argue that this does not (...)
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  • The Mechanisms of Emergence.R. Keith Sawyer - 2004 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (2):260-282.
    This article focuses on emergence in social systems. The author begins by proposing a new tool to explore the mechanisms of social emergence: multi agent–based computer simulation. He then draws on philosophy of mind to develop an account of social emergence that raises potential problems for the methodological individualism of both social mechanism and of multi agent simulation. He then draws on various complexity concepts to propose a set of criteria whereby one can determine whether a given social mechanism generates (...)
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  • Theorizing the Mechanisms of Conceptual and Semiotic Space.Colin Wight - 2004 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (2):283-299.
    In this piece the author takes issue with Mario Bunge’s claims that conceptual and semiotic systems have "compositions, environments and structures, but no mechanisms." Structures, according to Bunge, can never be mechanisms in conceptual and semiotic systems. Contra this the author argues that in social systems, social structures (which are concept-dependent and reproduced and/or transformed, at least in part, semiotically), can be mechanisms in the sense that such structures are one of the processes in a concrete system that makes itwhat (...)
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  • Explaining Large-Scale Historical Change.Daniel Little - 2000 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 30 (1):89-112.
    A prominent historiographic theme in the past decade has been a movement away from causal explanation of large-scale processes and outcomes and toward narrative interpretation of singular historical processes. This article argues for the continued vitality of large-scale historical inquiry and surveys the historiographic issues that arise in large-scale historical explanation. The article proceeds through an examination of several important recent examples of large-scale history: comparative history of Europe and China, the history of alternative forms of industrial organization, and the (...)
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  • Review: Hedstrom, P. (2005). Dissecting the Social: On the Principles of Analytic Sociology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. [REVIEW]R. Keith Sawyer - 2007 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 37 (2):255-260.
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  • What Can Mechanisms Do for You? Mechanisms and the Problem of Confounders in the Social Sciences.María Jiménez-Buedo & Juan Carlos Squitieri - 2019 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 49 (3):210-231.
    The idea that mechanisms are crucially important to differentiate between genuine and spurious causal relations is ubiquitous both in the philosophical and in the social scientific literature. Yet...
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  • Do We Need Mechanisms in the Social Sciences?Julian Reiss - 2007 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 37 (2):163-184.
    A recent movement in the social sciences and philosophy of the social sciences focuses on mechanisms as a central analytical unit. Starting from a pluralist perspective on the aims of the social sciences, I argue that there are a number of important aims to which knowledge about mechanisms—whatever their virtues relative to other aims—contributes very little at best and that investigating mechanisms is therefore a methodological strategy with fairly limited applicability. Key Words: social science • mechanisms • explanation • critical (...)
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  • The Ontic Account of Scientific Explanation.Carl F. Craver - 2014 - In Marie I. Kaiser, Oliver R. Scholz, Daniel Plenge & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.), Explanation in the Special Sciences: The Case of Biology and History. Springer Verlag. pp. 27-52.
    According to one large family of views, scientific explanations explain a phenomenon (such as an event or a regularity) by subsuming it under a general representation, model, prototype, or schema (see Bechtel, W., & Abrahamsen, A. (2005). Explanation: A mechanist alternative. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 36(2), 421–441; Churchland, P. M. (1989). A neurocomputational perspective: The nature of mind and the structure of science. Cambridge: MIT Press; Darden (2006); Hempel, C. G. (1965). Aspects of scientific (...)
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  • Using Case Studies in the Social Sciences: Methods, Inferences, Purposes.Attilia Ruzzene - 2015 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 8 (1):123.
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  • Analytical Sociology: A Bungean Appreciation.Poe Yu-ze Wan - 2012 - Science & Education 21 (10):1545-1565.
  • Process Tracing as an Effective Epistemic Complement.Attilia Ruzzene - 2014 - Topoi 33 (2):1-12.
    In the last decades philosophers of science and social scientists promoted the view that knowledge of mechanisms might help causal inference considerably in the social sciences. Mechanisms, however, can only assist causal inference effectively if scientists have a means to identify them correctly. Some scholars suggested that process-tracing might be a helpful strategy in this respect. Shared criteria to assess its performance, however, are not available yet; furthermore, the criteria proposed so far tie the validity of process-tracing findings to the (...)
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  • The Explanation Paradox.Julian Reiss - 2012 - Journal of Economic Methodology 19 (1):43-62.
    This paper examines mathematical models in economics and observes that three mutually inconsistent hypotheses concerning models and explanation are widely held: (1) economic models are false; (2) economic models are nevertheless explanatory; and (3) only true accounts explain. Commentators have typically resolved the paradox by rejecting either one of these hypotheses. I will argue that none of the proposed resolutions work and conclude that therefore the paradox is genuine and likely to stay.
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  • Social Explanation and Computational Simulation.R. Keith Sawyer - 2004 - Philosophical Explorations 7 (3):219-231.
    I explore a type of computational social simulation known as artificial societies. Artificial society simulations are dynamic models of real-world social phenomena. I explore the role that these simulations play in social explanation, by situating these simulations within contemporary philosophical work on explanation and on models. Many contemporary philosophers have argued that models provide causal explanations in science, and that models are necessary mediators between theory and data. I argue that artificial society simulations provide causal mechanistic explanations. I conclude that (...)
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  • Are Causal Analysis and System Analysis Compatible Approaches?Federica Russo - 2010 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (1):67 – 90.
    In social science, one objection to causal analysis is that the assumption of the closure of the system makes the analysis too narrow in scope, that is, it considers only 'closed' and 'hermetic' systems thus neglecting many other external influences. On the contrary, system analysis deals with complex structures where every element is interrelated with everything else in the system. The question arises as to whether the two approaches can be compatible and whether causal analysis can be integrated into the (...)
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  • Introduction: Beyond Empiricism in the Social Explanation of Action.Robrecht Vanderbeeken & Stefaan E. Cuypers - 2004 - Philosophical Explorations 7 (3):197 – 200.