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Philosophy of the Social Sciences
Philosophical Theory and Scientific Practice


C. Mantzavinos, John R. Searle, Mark Turner, Michael E. Bratman, Pierre Demeulenaere, Philip Pettit, Diego Rios, David Papineau, Robert G. Shulman, Ian Shapiro, Sandra Mitchell, James Alt, Daniel Little, Jack Knight, Nancy Cartwright, Gerd Gigerenzer, James Woodward, Werner Güth, Hartmut Kliemt, Ernest Sosa, Steven Lukes, David-Hillel Ruben
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  • Date Published: September 2009
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521739061

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About the Authors
  • This volume is a unique contribution to the philosophy of the social sciences, 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 social sciences 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 social sciences. 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 social sciences.

    • Shows that the philosophy of the social sciences must take account of practices and theories in the social sciences through a unique dialogue between philosophers and social scientists
    • An extremely high-calibre group of philosophers and social scientists, all of whom are prominent figures in their respective fields
    • Addresses a broad audience in a number of fields including philosophers, political scientists, sociologists, psychologists, historians, economists, anthropologists, scholars in literary studies and cognitive scientists interested in philosophical and general methodological issues
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This very interesting collection will provide a new framework for the discussion in the philosophy of the social sciences. Mantzavinos's volume will be a standard reading for any seminar on the philosophy of the social sciences.' Hans Albert, Heidelberg University

    'Should we take personal identity and other familiar notions for granted? Can an agency status be granted to groups? Should the social sciences really care about character traits or concentrate on situations, intentions, motivations and reasons in the explanation of social action? Why is methodological individualism persistently regarded as solipsistic? Are there social laws or merely social mechanisms? Will the social and cognitive sciences be ever articulated with one another? Should the social sciences aim at interpreting or explaining? Is Verstehen an alternative to - or an ingredient of - explanation? Taking the form of a dialogue between social scientists and philosophers, the book offers a lively contribution to some lasting issues in the philosophy of the social sciences.' Raymond Boudon, Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques

    'A collection of first rate work by pre-eminent theorists all in top form. Individually and as a whole the essays make substantial contributions to the most fundamental questions in the philosophy of the social sciences: from the nature of group activity and collective agency to distinctions among the various modes of explanation suitable to understanding our social lives.' Jules L. Coleman, Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld Professor of Jurisprudence and Professor of Philosophy, Yale University

    'Overall, this book contributes to reorienting the focus of the philosophy of the social sciences towards the actual theories and practices in the social sciences, thereby yielding some important ontological, methodological and pragmatic insights, many of which are relevant for economics.' The Journal of Economics and Philosophy

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521739061
    • length: 344 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • contains: 1 map 1 table
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction C. Mantzavinos
    Part I. Basic Problems of Sociality:
    1. Language and social ontology John R. Searle
    Comment: De Rerum Natura: dragons of obliviousness and the science of social ontology Mark Turner
    2. Shared agency Michael E. Bratman
    Comment: Where is the social? Pierre Demeulenaere
    3. The reality of group agents Philip Pettit
    Comment: A note on group agents Diego Rios
    Part II. Laws and Explanation in the Social Sciences:
    4. Physicalism and the human sciences David Papineau
    Comment: Reductionism in the human sciences: a philosopher's game Robert G. Shulman and Ian Shapiro
    5. Complexity and explanation in the social sciences Sandra Mitchell
    Comment: Conditional knowledge: an oxymoron? James Alt
    6. The heterogeneous social: new thinking about the foundations of the social sciences Daniel Little
    Comment: Causal mechanisms and generalizations Jack Knight
    7. What is this thing called 'efficacy'? Nancy Cartwright
    Comment: Randomized controlled trials and public policy Gerd Gigerenzer
    Part III. How Philosophy and the Social Sciences Can Enrich Each Other: Three Examples:
    8. Why do people cooperate as much as they do? James Woodward
    Comment: Putting the problem of social order into perspective Werner Güth and Hartmut Kliemt
    9. Situations against virtues: the situationist attack on virtue theory Ernest Sosa
    Comment: Do people have character-traits? Steven Lukes
    10. What kind of problem is the hermeneutic circle? C. Mantzavinos
    Comment: Going in circles David-Hillel Ruben
    Epilogue C. Mantzavinos.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Doctoral Seminar in Education
    • Introduction to Psychopathology
    • Learning to Learn about Teaching Social Studies and Science
    • Philosophy of the Social Sciences
    • Qualitative and Interpretive Methods in Political Science
    • Scope and Methods in Political Science
    • Seminar in Cultural Sociology
  • Editor

    C. Mantzavinos, Witten/Herdecke University
    Professor Mantzavinos holds the Chair of Economics and Philosophy at Witten/Herdecke University, Germany. He is the author of Wettbewerbstheorie (1994), Individuals, Institutions, and Markets (Cambridge, 2001) and Naturalistic Hermeneutics (Cambridge, 2005).


    C. Mantzavinos, John R. Searle, Mark Turner, Michael E. Bratman, Pierre Demeulenaere, Philip Pettit, Diego Rios, David Papineau, Robert G. Shulman, Ian Shapiro, Sandra Mitchell, James Alt, Daniel Little, Jack Knight, Nancy Cartwright, Gerd Gigerenzer, James Woodward, Werner Güth, Hartmut Kliemt, Ernest Sosa, Steven Lukes, David-Hillel Ruben

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