Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 7
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Van Bouwel, Jeroen 2015. Towards Democratic Models of Science: Exploring the Case of Scientific Pluralism. Perspectives on Science, Vol. 23, Issue. 2, p. 149.


    Hindriks, Frank 2013. The location problem in social ontology. Synthese, Vol. 190, Issue. 3, p. 413.


    Gerring, John 2011. The Social Science of Democracy?. Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 9, Issue. 02, p. 377.


    De Winter, Jan 2010. Explanations in Software Engineering: The Pragmatic Point of View. Minds and Machines, Vol. 20, Issue. 2, p. 277.


    Van Bouwel, Jeroen 2009. The Social Sciences and Democracy.


    Van Bouwel, Jeroen and Weber, Erik 2008. De-Ontologizing the Debate on Social Explanations: A Pragmatic Approach Based on Epistemic Interests. Human Studies, Vol. 31, Issue. 4, p. 423.


    VAN BOUWEL, JEROEN and WEBER, ERIK 2008. A PRAGMATIST DEFENSE OF NON-RELATIVISTIC EXPLANATORY PLURALISM IN HISTORY AND SOCIAL SCIENCE. History and Theory, Vol. 47, Issue. 2, p. 168.


    ×

Symposium on explanations and social ontology 3: can we dispense with structural explanations of social facts?

  • Erik Weber (a1) and Jeroen Van Bouwel (a1)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0266267102002043
  • Published online: 01 October 2002
Abstract

Some social scientists and philosophers (e.g., James Coleman and Jon Elster) claim that all social facts are best explained by means of a micro-explanation. They defend a micro-reductionism in the social sciences: to explain is to provide a mechanism on the individual level.

The first aim of this paper is to challenge this view and defend the view that it has to be substituted for an explanatory pluralism with two components: (1) structural explanations of P-, O- and T-contrasts between social facts are more efficient than the competing micro-explanations; and (2) whether a plain social fact (as opposed to a contrast) is best explained in a micro-explanation or a structural explanation depends on the explanatory interest. The second aim of the paper is to show how this explanatory pluralism is compatible with ontological individualism.

This paper is motivated by our conviction that explanatory pluralism as defended by Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit is on the right track, but must be further elaborated. We want to supplement their contribution, by (1) introducing the difference between explanations of facts and explanations of contrasts; (2) giving examples from the social sciences, instead of mainly from the natural sciences or common sense knowledge; and (3) emphasizing the pragmatic relevance of explanations on different levels –social, psychological, biological, etc. – which is insufficiently done by Jackson and Pettit.

Copyright
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Economics & Philosophy
  • ISSN: 0266-2671
  • EISSN: 1474-0028
  • URL: /core/journals/economics-and-philosophy
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×