Individualism and holism, reduction and pluralism: A comment on Keith Sawyer and Julie Zahle

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (4):527-535 (2004)
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Abstract

Commenting on recent articles by Keith Sawyer and Julie Zahle, the author questions the way in which the debate between methodological individualists and holists has been presented and contends that too much weight has been given to metaphysical and ontological debates at the expense of giving attention to methodological debates and analysis of good explanatory practice. Giving more attention to successful explanatory practice in the social sciences and the different underlying epistemic interests and motivations for providing explanations or reducing theories (which ask for different kinds of explanatory information to be found on the social or on the individual level) might lead to real progress in the debate on methodological individualism, and away from the unending battles of (metaphysical) intuitions. Key Words: methodological individualism • nonreductive materialism • pluralism • pragmatics of explanation.

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Jeroen Van Bouwel
Ghent University

Citations of this work

Pragmatism, Ontology, and Philosophy of the Social Sciences in Practice.Simon Lohse - 2017 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 47 (1):3-27.
Ontological Investigations of a Pragmatic Kind? A Reply to Lauer.Simon Lohse - 2020 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 51 (1):3-12.
Methodological individualism, explanation, and invariance.Daniel Steel - 2006 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 36 (4):440-463.
Indispensability arguments in favour of reductive explanations.Jeroen Van Bouwel, Erik Weber & Leen De Vreese - 2011 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (1):33-46.

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References found in this work

Mind-body causation and explanatory practice.Tyler Burge - 1993 - In John Heil & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), Mental Causation. Oxford University Press.
Nonreductive individualism: Part I—supervenience and wild disjunction.R. Keith Sawyer - 2002 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 32 (4):537-559.
Nonreductive individualism part II—social causation.R. Keith Sawyer - 2003 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 33 (2):203-224.
Nonreductive Individualism.Sawyer R. Keith - 2002 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 32 (4):537-559.

View all 11 references / Add more references