Social functions and functional explanations play a prominent role not only in our everyday reasoning but also in classical as well as contemporary social theory and empirical social research. This volume explores metaphysical, normative, and methodological perspectives on social functions and functional explanations in the social sciences. It aims to push the philosophical debate on social functions forward along new investigative lines by including up-to-date discussions of the metaphysics of social functions, questions concerning the nature of functional explanations within the social domain, and various applications of functionalist theorising. As such, this is one of the first collections to exclusively address a variety of philosophical questions concerning the nature and relevance of social functions.
Rebekka Hufendiek, Daniel James, and Raphael van Riel
1. The Empirical Issues in Functional Explanations in the Social Sciences
2. Do Organizations Adapt?
3. Social Dysfunctions
4. In Search for Missing Mechanisms. Functional Explanation in Social Science
Raphael van Riel
5. From Natural Hierarchy-Signals to Social Norm Enforcers. What Good Are Functional Explanations of Shame and Pride?
6. What Grounds Social Role Normativity?
7. The Social Function of Morality
8. The Function of Gender as a Historical Kind
9. Function Without Intention? A Practice-Theoretical Solution to Challenges of the Social Domain
10. Revealing Social Functions through Pragmatic Genealogies
11. Social Organisms. Hegel’s Organizational Theory of Social Functions