Philosophical Foundations of the Social Sciences: Analyzing Controversies in Social Research

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Cambridge University Press, 1996 - Business & Economics - 283 pages
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This 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 social sciences 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.
 

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Contents

Challenges to scientific rationality
16
Causes confirmation and explanation
58
Paiges four basic agrarian class systems page
71
The political behavior of noncultivators
72
The political behavior of cultivators
74
Agrarian classes and political behavior
75
Paiges correlations
87
Functional ism defended
101
Examples of spurious correlations
129
Hannan and Freemans hypotheses
133
The failures of individualism
142
A science of interpretation?
191
Economics a test case
222
Problems and prospects
258
References
266
Index
279

Homeostatic model of functional explanations
107
Complex functional models
121

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About the author (1996)

Kincaid is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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