Microfoundations, Method, and Causation: On the Philosophy of the Social Sciences

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Transaction Publishers - 272 strán (strany)

The convergence of inexactness and intelligibility in social phenomena makes social and historical inquiry fascinating. The social world is not chaotic and social processes are not unrelated strings of events. We can explain social patterns in ways that illuminate social outcomes. At the same time, the social world does not constitute a closed, determined system of variables and outcomes, in the same way that quantum chemistry systemizes the properties of all physical structures. Instead, the social sciences are a tangle of cross-cutting, overlapping sets of theories, hypotheses, causal models, idealized facts, interpretive principles, and bodies of empirical findings that may illuminate but do not reduce.

In "Microfoundations, Method, and Causation, "Daniel Little combines a purely philosophical perspective on social science, with the theoretical and empirical practice of working scientists. Part 1 focuses on the theory of popular politics constructed within the context of analytical Marxism. In part 2, Little asks if rational choice theory provides an adequate basis for explaining patterns of social, political, and economic behavior in traditional China. The essays in part 3 reveal the philosophy of social science as understood by philosophers. Here, Little probes issues of objectivity, empiricism, and generalizations, and makes the case that social generalizations are not akin to laws of nature.

Little's approach to social science research effectively points out the limits inherent in social theories, as well as questions and answers that may be posed to the social world. In a clear, compelling, and honest fashion, he urges both the social scientist and the philosopher who studies the social sciences, to make the most of empirical methods of research to develop hypotheses about the social world. As such, this is a must read for sociologists, social theorists, and philosophers.

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Obsah

Microfoundations of Marxism
xiii
Dialectics and Science in Marxs Capital
25
Marxism and Popular Politics
49
Explanation in Area Studies
75
RationalChoice Theory and Asian Studies
77
Collective Action and the Traditional Village
99
Identity Politics Microfoundations for Asian Studies
121
The Brenner Debate
129
Objectivity Generalization and Causation
167
Evidence and Objectivity in the Social Sciences
169
Causal Explanation in the Social Sciences
193
An Experiment in Causal Reasoning
211
On the Scope and Limits of Generalization in the Social Sciences
233
References
253
Index
265
Autorské práva

The HighLevel Equilibrium Trap
147

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Strana 96 - The Western conception of the person as a bounded, unique, more or less integrated motivational and cognitive universe, a dynamic center of awareness, emotion, judgment, and action organized into a distinctive whole and set contrastively both against other such wholes and against its social and natural background, is, however incorrigible it may seem to us, a rather peculiar idea within the context of the world's cultures...
Strana 21 - In so far as millions of families live under economic conditions of existence that separate their mode of life, their interests and their culture from those of the other classes, and put them in hostile opposition to the latter, they form a class.
Strana 22 - This organization of the proletarians into a class, and consequently into a political party, is continually being upset again by the competition between the workers themselves. But it ever rises up again ; stronger, firmer, mightier. It compels legislative recognition of particular interests of the workers, by taking advantage of the divisions among the bourgeoisie itself. Thus the ten-hours
Strana 30 - The mystification which dialectic suffers in Hegel's hands, by no means prevents him from being the first to present its general form of working in a comprehensive and conscious manner. With him it is standing on its head. It must be turned right side up again, if you would discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell.
Strana 34 - The premises from which we begin are not arbitrary ones, not dogmas, but real premises from which abstraction can only be made in the imagination. They are the real individuals, their activity and the material conditions under which they live, both those which they find already existing and those produced by their activity. These premises can thus be verified in a purely empirical way.
Strana 46 - But this much is clear; a scientific analysis of competition is not possible before we have a conception of the inner nature of capital, just as the apparent motions of the heavenly bodies are not intelligible to any but him, who is acquainted with their real motions, motions which are not directly perceptible by the senses.
Strana 34 - If from real apples, pears, strawberries and almonds I form the general idea 'Fruit', if I go further and imagine that my abstract idea 'Fruit', derived from real fruit, is an entity existing outside me, is indeed the true essence of the pear, the apple, etc., then — in the language of speculative philosophy — I am declaring that 'Fruit' is the 'Substance' of the pear, the apple, the almond, etc.
Strana 30 - The mystification which the dialectic suffers in Hegel's hands by no means prevents him from being the first to present its general forms of motion in a comprehensive and conscious manner. With him it is standing on its head. It must be inverted, in order to discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell.
Strana 35 - Empirical observation must in each separate instance bring out empirically, and without any mystification and speculation, the connection of the social and political structure with production.
Strana 21 - In so far as these small peasant proprietors are merely connected on a local basis, and the identity of their interests fails to produce a feeling of community, national links, or a political organization, they do not form a class.

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