The Philosophy of Social Science Reader  book cover
1st Edition

The Philosophy of Social Science Reader

ISBN 9780415779692
Published October 5, 2010 by Routledge
456 Pages

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Book Description

The Philosophy of Social Science Reader is an outstanding, comprehensive and up-to-date collection of key readings in the philosophy of social science, covering the essential issues, problems and debates in this important interdisciplinary area.

Each section is carefully introduced by the editors, and the readings placed in context. The anthology is organized into seven clear parts:

  • Values and Social Science
  • Causal Inference and Explanation
  • Interpretation
  • Rationality and Choice
  • Individualism
  • Norms
  • Cultural Evolution.

Featuring the work of influential philosophers and social scientists such as Ernest Nagel, Ian Hacking, John Searle, Clifford Geertz, Daniel Kahneman, Steven Lukes and Richard Dawkins, The Philosophy of Social Science Reader is the ideal text for philosophy of social science courses, and for students in related disciplines interested in the differences between the social and natural sciences.

Table of Contents

Introduction  Part 1: Values and Social Science  1. The Value-Oriented Bias of Social Inquiry E. Nagel  2. The Looping Effects of Human Kinds I. Hacking  3. Powerlessness and Social Interpretation M. Fricker  4. The Feminist Question in Science: What Does it Mean to "Do Social Science as a Feminist?" A. Wylie  Part 2: Causal Inference and Explanation  5. The Function of General Laws in History C. Hempel  6. Causes, Confirmation, and Explanation H. Kincaid  7. Explanation and Invariance in the Special Sciences J. Woodward  8. Social Mechanisms and Causal Inference D. Steel  9. The Similarity of Causal Inference in Experimental and Non-experimental Studies R. Scheines  Part 3: Interpretation  10. Thick Description: Towards an Interpretive Theory of Culture C. Geertz  11. Uncovering Cultural Meaning: Problems and Solutions T. Jones  12. Interpretation Psychologized A. Goldman 13. The Psychological Basis of Historical Explanation: Reenactment, Simulation, and the Fusion of Horizons K. Stueber  Part 4: Rationality and Choice  14. Advances in the Foundations of Rational Behavior J. Harsanyi  15. Maps of Bounded Rationality: A Perspective on Intuitive Judgment and Choice D. Kahneman  16. The Virtual Reality of Homo Economicus P. Pettit  17. Building Economic Machines: the FCC Auctions F. Guala  Part 5: Methodological Individualism  18. Methodological Individualism Reconsidered S. Lukes  19. Explaining Institutions: A Defence of Reductionism M. Van Hees  20. Non-Reductive Individualism: Part I—Supervenience and Wild Disjunction K. Sawyer  Part 6: Norms, Conventions, and Institutions  21. Coordination and Convention & Common Knowledge D. Lewis  22. Social Convention Revisited M. Gilbert  23. What Is an Institution? J. Searle  24. The Rules We Live By C. Bicchieri  Part 7: Cultural Evolution  25. Memes: the New Replicators R. Dawkins  26. Selection and Attraction in Evolution D. Sperber  27. Bargaining with Neighbors: Is Justice Contagious? J. Alexander & B. Skyrms  28. Culture Evolves P. Richerson & R. Boyd

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Francesco Guala is Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Milan, Italy. He is the author of The Methodology of Experimental Economics (2005), and of many articles published in philosophical and scientific journals. He is currently book review editor of the journal Economics and Philosophy.

Daniel Steel is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Michigan State University, USA. His research on causal inference and explanation in social science and biology has appeared in Philosophy of the Social Sciences, and The British Journal of the Philosophy of Science. He is the author of Across the Boundaries: Extrapolation in Biology and Social Science (2008).


'This is a terrific anthology. It covers a broad range of interesting topics with a nice blend of classical articles and recent work and of traditional philosophy of social science topics such as methodological individualism along with newer areas of interest such as cultural evolution. It is very well suited for use in the classroom as well as for social scientists and philosophers looking for a survey of the current state of play in the field.' – Harold Kincaid, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA

'The Philosophy of Social Science Reader, edited by Daniel Steel and Francesco Guala, is a welcome, well-organized, and brilliant collection, offering a novel look into a field that has changed enormously in the last 20 years.' María Jiménez Buedo, UNED, Spain in THEORIA