causation-social   37

Political science is divided between methodological individualists, who seek to explain political phenomena by reference to individuals and their interactions, and holists (or nonreductionists), who consider some higher-level social entities or properties such as states, institutions, or cultures ontologically or causally significant. We propose a reconciliation between these two perspectives, building on related work in philosophy. After laying out a taxonomy of different variants of each view, we observe that (i) although political phenomena result from underlying individual attitudes and behavior, individual-level descriptions do not always capture all explanatorily salient properties, and (ii) nonreductionistic explanations are mandated when social regularities are robust to changes in their individual-level realization. We characterize the dividing line between phenomena requiring nonreductionistic explanation and phenomena permitting individualistic explanation and give examples from the study of ethnic conflicts, social-network theory, and international-relations theory. - downloaded via iphone to Dbox
positivism  emergence  reductionism  causation-social  critical_realism  epistemology-social  article  methodology  jstor  social_history  causation  downloaded  philosophy_of_social_science  individualism-methodology 
july 2017 by dunnettreader
G. A. Wells - Herder's Determinism | JSTOR - Journal of the History of Ideas (1958)
Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Jan., 1958), pp. 105-113 -- see also his follow up on how the German historicist school (Meinecke et al) found what they wanted to in Herder's works, distorting Herder in the process -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  intellectual_history  historiography  historiography-18thC  German_scholars  historicism  relativism  causation  causation-social  Herder  determinism  downloaded 
october 2015 by dunnettreader
Raymond BOUDON - LA RATIONALITÉ DU RELIGIEUX SELON MAX WEBER | JSTOR - L'Année sociologique - Vol. 51, No. 1 (2001), pp. 9-50
LA RATIONALITÉ DU RELIGIEUX SELON MAX WEBER - L'Année sociologique (1940/1948-), Troisième série, Vol. 51, No. 1 (2001), pp. 9-50 -- One of the most striking features of Weber's writings on religion is the frequency with which he uses the word rationality. This derives from the metatheory grounding in his mind the interpretative method. This metatheory asserts that the meaning to an individual of his beliefs should be seen as the main cause explaining why he endorses them. Weber's religion sociology owes its strength to this theoretical framework. His « rational » conception of religious beliefs does not imply that these beliefs derive from deliberation. They are rather transmitted to the social subject in the course of his socialisation. But they are accepted only if they are perceived by the subject as grounded. These principles inspire Weber's pages on magical beliefs, on animism, on the great religions, on the diffusion of monotheism, on theodicy or the world disenchantment. He shows that religious thinking cares on coherence, tends to verify and falsify religious dogmas by confronting them with observable facts. He develops a complex version of evolutionism, explaining the cases of irreversibility registered by the history of religions, but avoiding any fatalism. He rejects any depth psychology and any causalist psychology in his sociology of religion, the common rational psychology being the only one that can be easily made compatible with the notion of "Verstehende Soziologie", i.e. of « interpretative sociology ». Weber analyses the evolution of religious ideas supposing that they follow the same mechanisms as the evolution of ideas in other domains, as law, economics or science. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  sociology_of_religion  Weber  Boudon  rationality  causation  causation-social  religious_history  religious_belief  religious_culture  hermeneutics  social_theory  socialization  social_process  rationality-bounded  disenchantment  causation-evolutionary  psychology  mechanisms-social_theory  downloaded 
may 2015 by dunnettreader
Raymond Boudon - "Sociology that Really Matters" - Inaugural Lecture 2001, European Academy of Sociology
Responding to claims that sociology isn't a "science" or that it goes off the rails when its pretensions to scientific status dominate, he discusses 4 ideal-types of sociology -- Cognitive, Expressive, Descriptive (cameral) and Critical. The first, which he claims fits a range of the most important theories in philosophy of science, is represented by Tocqueville, Weber and Durkheim. The produced explanations of puzzling phenomena that linked micro and macro - why particular actions or choices were rational for classes of actors in the sense that the meaning was consistent with their beliefs and experiences given their position in social structures and the tools they had available to understand and control their situation consistent with their values. This type of causal explanation can be used, elaborated and built on for cumulative knowledge. The more popular bestseller works tend to be expressive and/or critical - speaking to people's current experiences, felt anxieties, or ideological orientation so they are useful, but not necessarily true - he gives Foucault on prisons as an example. The descriptive, which is directed towards policy ("cameral" in Schumpeter) grows increasingly dominant as we become increasingly data sensitive and driven. Topics tend to come in waves based on issues that have become prominent and a focus of political debates, social movements, etc. Thus only the cognitive is a truly scientific contribution to cumulative knowledge. Interesting remarks on the type of methodological individualism that's central to the cognitive but both different and sometimes inappropriate in the other ideal-types.
Scribd  social_theory  intellectual_history  19thC  20thC  21stC  social_sciences  philosophy_of_social_science  philosophy_of_science  Tocqueville  Weber  Durkheim  Popper  positivism  individualism-methodology  causation-social  structuralist  agency  agency-structure  Foucault 
april 2015 by dunnettreader
Carl Menger - Investigations into the Method of the Social Sciences - Books | Mises Institute
The famed Methodenstreit of the late 19th century was the battle of method. It pitted the emerging Austrian School against the German Historical School over a critically important question: what is the proper way to do social science? Here, Carl Menger, the founder of the School, vindicates the importance of theory, and lays the foundation for later developments by Mises and others. The book was written twelve years after his principles book, and it sought to deal with the hostility with which that book was greeted in the German world. Menger argues that economics can and must be more than an effort at observing, collecting, and assembling data. It can make general observations about the laws of economics that operate independently of time and place. -- No Austrian can overlook this very important treatise on method. This edition includes an introduction by Lawrence White that frames up the debate over method in light of modern trends in economic theory. -- This edition copyright NYU in 1960s and Mises Institute 2009 -- downloaded pdf to Note
books  etexts  19thC  intellectual_history  Germany  German_historical_school  German_scholarship  historicism  economic_theory  economic_sociology  social_theory  social_sciences  Methodenstreit  methodology-quantitative  causation-social  covering_laws  Austrian_economics  downloaded 
february 2015 by dunnettreader
Sven Ove Hansson -Risk (updated 2011) | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Since the 1970s, studies of risk have grown into a major interdisciplinary field of research. Although relatively few philosophers have focused their work on risk, there are important connections between risk studies and several philosophical subdisciplines. This entry summarizes the most well-developed of these connections and introduces some of the major topics in the philosophy of risk. It consists of six sections dealing with the definition of risk and with treatments of risk related to epistemology, the philosophy of science, the philosophy of technology, ethics, and the philosophy of economics.
1. Defining risk [including objective vs subjective and risk vs uncertainty - the latter comparison mostly formalized in decision tgeory]
2. Epistemology
3. Philosophy of science
4. Philosophy of technology
5. Ethics
6. Risk in economic analysis
Related Entries -- causation: in the law | causation: probabilistic | consequentialism | contractarianism | economics, philosophy of | game theory | luck: justice and bad luck | scientific knowledge: social dimensions of | technology, philosophy of
philosophy  epistemology  epistemology-social  epistemology-moral  causation  causation-social  probability  Bayesian  moral_philosophy  utilitarianism  utility  rights-legal  game_theory  philosophy_of_science  philosophy_of_social_science  economic_theory  behavioral_economics  financial_economics  sociology_of_knowledge  philosophy_of_law  risk  risk-mitigation  risk_management  uncertainty  rational_choice  rationality-economics 
february 2015 by dunnettreader
Seamus Bradley Imprecise Probabilities (Dec 2014) | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
It has been argued that imprecise probabilities are a natural and intuitive way of overcoming some of the issues with orthodox precise probabilities. Models of this type have a long pedigree, and interest in such models has been growing in recent years. This article introduces the theory of imprecise probabilities, discusses the motivations for their use and their possible advantages over the standard precise model. It then discusses some philosophical issues raised by this model. There is also a historical appendix which provides an overview of some important thinkers who appear sympathetic to imprecise probabilities. *-* Related Entries -- belief, formal representations of | epistemic utility arguments for probabilism | epistemology: Bayesian | probability, interpretations of | rational choice, normative: expected utility | statistics, philosophy of | vagueness
epistemology  philosophy_of_science  technology  probability  risk  uncertainty  rational_choice  rationality-economics  rationality  rationality-bounded  statistics  Bayesian  linguistics  causation  causation-social  causation-evolutionary  complexity  complex_adaptive_systems  utility  behavioral_economics  behavioralism  neuroscience  vagueness 
february 2015 by dunnettreader
Special Issue: Microfinance -- AEAweb: American Economic Journal: Applied Economics Vol. 7 No.1, Jan 2015
Abstract of introductory article -- Causal evidence on microcredit impacts informs theory, practice, and debates about its effectiveness as a development tool. The six randomized evaluations in this volume use a variety of sampling, data collection, experimental design, and econometric strategies to identify causal effects of expanded access to microcredit on borrowers and/or communities. These methods are deployed across an impressive range of locations—six countries on four continents, urban and rural areas—borrower characteristics, loan characteristics, and lender characteristics. Summarizing and interpreting results across studies, we note a consistent pattern of modestly positive, but not transformative, effects. We also discuss directions for future research. -- broad conclusion to be expected contra the hype -- but focus still seems to be on *credit* (with assumptions re micro and SME entrepreneurs and business formation) rather than access to services -- also question whether the former Yugoslavia study really dealt with "micro", likely the sort of labeling of SMEs as micro like Aftab's programs
journals-academic  article  paywall  microfinance  access_to_finance  development  economic_growth  economic_sociology  development-impact  RCT  econometrics  causation  causation-social  financial_sector_development  financial_economics  financial_access  institutional_economics  banking  credit  financial_innovation  SMEs  access_to_services  EF-add 
january 2015 by dunnettreader
Daniel Little - Emergentism and generationism | Understanding Society 3014
So Epstein and Page both make use of the methods of agent based modeling, but they disagree about the idea of emergence. Page believes that complex adaptive systems give rise to properties that are emergent and irreducible; whereas Epstein doesn't think the idea makes a lot of sense. Rather, Epstein's view depends on the idea that we can reproduce (generate) the macro phenomena based on a model involving the agents and their interactions. Macro phenomena are generated by the interactions of the units; whereas for Page and Miller, macro phenomena in some systems have properties that cannot be easily derived from the activities of the units. At the moment, anyway, I find myself attracted to Herbert Simon's effort to split the difference by referring to "weak emergence" (link to amazon kindle): - Epstein paper dowmloaded to iPhone
social_theory  emergence  complex_adaptive_systems  complexity  agent-based_models  methodology  methodological_individualism  causation-social  anthropology  historical_sociology  fownloaded  kindle-available 
january 2015 by dunnettreader
The Irrelevance of Legitimacy by Xavier Marquez :: SSRN - Sept 2014
Xavier Marquez , Victoria University of Wellington - September 17, 2014 --  Both popular and academic explanations of the stability, performance, and breakdown of political order make heavy use of the concept of legitimacy. But prevalent understandings of the idea of legitimacy, while perhaps useful and appropriate ways of making sense of the political world in ordinary public discourse, cannot play the more rigorous explanatory roles with which they are tasked in the social sciences. To the extent that the concept of legitimacy appears to have some explanatory value, this is only because explanations of social and political order that appeal to legitimacy in fact conceal widely different (and often inconsistent) accounts of the mechanisms involved in the production of obedience to authority and submission to norms. I suggest in this paper that explanatory social science would be better off abandoning the coarse concept of legitimacy for more precise accounts of the operation of these mechanisms in particular contexts. -- Keywords: legitimacy, Max Weber, social explanation, norms, David Beetham - Posted: March 22, 2012 ; Last revised: Sept 25, 2014 -- downloaded to Dropbox
paper  SSRN  political_philosophy  political_science  political_sociology  social_theory  government-forms  authority  legitimacy  public_opinion  causation-social  norms  mechanisms-social  Weber  downloaded  EF-add 
november 2014 by dunnettreader
George Steinmetz - William Sewell's "Logics of History" as a Framework for an Integrated Social Science | JSTOR: Social Science History, Vol. 32, No. 4 (Winter, 2008), pp. 535-553
This essay surveys the contributions of William H. Sewell Jr.'s "Logics of History" and concludes that the book sketches a compelling agenda for an integrated historical social science. The author first summarizes Sewell's ontological and epistemological claims concerning social structure and event, history and temporality, and sociohistorical causality. The author then discusses five main areas in which ambiguities in Sewell's approach might be clarified or his arguments pushed farther. These concern (1) the relationship between historical event and traumatic event; (2) the idea of the unprecedented event or "antistructure"; (3) the theory of semiosis underlying Sewell's notion of a multiplicity of structures; and (4) the compatibilities and differences between the concepts of structure and mechanism (here the author argues that social structures are the distinctive "mechanisms" of the human or social sciences). Finally, (5) Sewell's call for "a more robust sense of the social" in historical writing locates the "social" mainly at the level of the metafield of power, or what regulation theory calls the mode of regulation; the author suggests a possible integration of this society-level concept with Pierre Bourdieu 's theory of semiautonomous fields. -- This is a Duke journal that only uses jstor for posting abstracts for the entire history of the journal
article  find  libraries  social_theory  historiography  historical_sociology  philosophy_of_social_science  methodology  mechanisms-social_theory  structure  event  causation-social  power  levels_of_analyis  Bourdieu  fields  ontology-social  EF-add 
october 2014 by dunnettreader
Charles Tilly - Contentious Choices [overview of Special Issue: Current Routes to the Study of Contentious Politics and Social Change] | JSTOR: Theory and Society, Vol. 33, No. 3/4 (Jun. - Aug., 2004), pp. 473-481
Articles in this special issue address two choices faced by all analysts of contentious politics: 1) which features of political processes the analysts single out for description and explanation and 2) what sorts of conceptualizations and explanations of those processes they propose. On the first point, the articles split among a) variation and change in actors' strategies as well as consequences of those strategies, b) longer-term transformations of political context and consequences, c) grounding of contention in local circumstances. On the second, they choose among a) very general explanatory frameworks, b) particular causal mechanisms that produce similar effects across a wide variety of political circumstances, and c) explanation by means of careful attachment of episodes to local and regional settings. The articles therefore illustrate broad challenges in current studies of political contention. -- a late methodological essay on approaches to contentious politics and mechanisms, explanation, causation, generalizations etc in Tilly's career -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  social_theory  political_sociology  contention  social_movements  change-social  historical_sociology  philosophy_of_social_science  methodology  mechanisms-social_theory  causation-social  Tilly  downloaded  EF-add 
october 2014 by dunnettreader
ECONOMICS AS SOCIAL THEORY - Routledge Series edited by Tony Lawson - Titles List
Social theory is experiencing something of a revival within economics. Critical analyses of the particular nature of the subject matter of social studies and of the types of method, categories and modes of explanation that can legitimately be endorsed for the scientific study of social objects, are re-emerging. Economists are again addressing such issues as the relationship between agency and structure, between the economy and the rest of society, and between inquirer and the object of inquiry. There is renewed interest in elaborating basic categories such as causation, competition, culture, discrimination,evolution, money, need, order, organisation, power, probability, process, rationality, technology, time, truth, uncertainty and value, etc. The objective for this series is to facilitate this revival further. In contemporary economics the label `theory' has been appropriated by a group that confines itself to largely a-social, a-historical, mathematical `modelling'. Economics as Social Theory thus reclaims the `theory' label, offering a platform for alternative, rigorous, but broader and more critical conceptions of theorising.
books  social_theory  economic_theory  social_sciences  intellectual_history  political_economy  causation-social  economic_sociology  economic_culture  rationality-economics  rational_choice  rationality-bounded  rational_expectations  critical_realism  evolution-social  history_of_science  historical_sociology  agency-structure  power  power-asymmetric  business-and-politics  capitalism  capital_as_power  Marxist  Post-Keynesian  epistemology  epistemology-social  conventions  social_order  civil_society  public_policy  public_goods  anarchism  competition  financialization  development  economic_growth 
october 2014 by dunnettreader
Alex Rosenberg - Paul Krugman’s Philosophy of Economics, and What It Should Be » 3:AM Magazine
All the New Classical economists need to defend the dominant “paradigm” in economics against Krugman and other dissenters are the tools he grants them—maximization and equilibrium. -- Rosenberg then goes into Keynes, Knight, Soros re uncertainty and reflexivity. Comes up with too strong a conclusion that since economics is an historical science, you can't make predictions. But there's a big difference between predictions of a long term outcome, or even a specific business cycle and yet have history-confirmed principles that, e.g. fiscal policy should be countercyclical or that a balance sheet recession is unlikely to push prices up, and monetary policy loses traction so it's not going to generate inflation, or a monetary union without a fiscal union and consolidated banking regulation is likely to blow up. Worse, Rosenberg is reiterating the false myth that the Keynesian thinking couldn't explain the 1970s and the New Classicals could. History contradicts the macro implications of EMH, Ricardian equivalence, RBC, etc. Actually it was Friedman monetarism that "explained" the 1970s, and when Friedman theory was attempted in the 1980s it had to be abandoned since it simply didn't work. The New Classicals were initially along for the monetarism ride and consolidated ideologically in academia by ignoring real world failures, which were relatively unimportant during the Great Moderation which they claimed to have produced or at least understood.
economic_history  intellectual_history  economic_theory  macroeconomics  microfoundations  neoclassical_economics  Keynesian  political_economy  philosophy_of_social_science  methodology  monetarism  monetary_policy  fiscal_policy  causation-social  mechanism  systems_theory  complexity  risk-systemic  uncertainty  probability 
september 2014 by dunnettreader
Trevor A. Harley - History lessons: what can we learn about history? | Rethinking History Vol. 18, Iss. 3, 2014 - Taylor & Francis Online
What can we learn from the past? This paper examines the nature of the past and discusses the extent to which historical outcomes are robust over different starting conditions, using primarily the example of the origin of the Great War. It reviews the mathematical and psychological literature on complexity theory, and considers the idea that history can indeed in some circumstances be robust across initial conditions. I introduce the notion of a dynamic historical attractor to account for the way in which the past unfolds over time, and relate dynamic attractors to post-modern approaches to historical interpretation. -- Keywords: complexity, chaos, dynamic historical attractors, alternative histories, causality, narrative, post-modernism -- T&F paywall
article  paywall  historiography  causation-social  causation  complexity  chaos_theory  dynamic_attractors  counterfactuals  narrative  narrative-contested  postmodern  WWI  contingency  social_theory  EF-add 
august 2014 by dunnettreader
Stuart Glennan - Aspects of Human Historiographic Explanation: A View from the Philosophy of Science (2014)
While some philosophers of history have argued that explanations in human history are of a fundamentally different kind than explanations in the natural sciences, I shall argue that this is not the case. Human beings are part of nature, human history is part of natural history, and human historical explanation is a species of natural historical explanation. In this paper I shall use a case study from the history of the American Civil War to show the variety of close parallels between natural and human historical explanation. In both instances, I shall argue that these explanations involve narrative descriptions of causal mechanisms. I shall show how adopting a mechanistic approach to explanation can provide resources to address some important aspects of human historiographic explanation, including problems concerning event individuation, historical meaning, agency, the role of laws, and the nature of contingency. -- This is a preprint version of this chapter. The final publication is available to purchase at Springer. -- Glennan, Stuart. "Aspects of Human Historiographic Explanation: A View from the Philosophy of Science." Explanation in the Special Sciences: The Case of Biology and History. Eds. Marie I. Kaiser, Oliver R. Scholz, Daniel Plenge, and Andreas Hüttemann. Dordrecht: Springer, 2014. 273-291. -- downloaded pdf to Note
historiography  history_of_science  causation  causation-social  mechanisms-social_theory  natural_history  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
Greg Hill - "FROM HAYEK TO KEYNES: G.L.S. Shackle and Our Ignorance of the Future" - Critical Review (2004) | bepress
Greg Hill, City of Seattle -- G.L.S. Shackle stood at the historic crossroads where the economics of Hayek and Keynes collided. Shackle fused these opposing lines of thought in a macroeconomic theory that draws Keynesian conclusions from Austrian premises. In Shackle’s scheme of thought, the power to imagine alternative courses of action releases decision makers from the web of predictable causation. But the continuous stream of spontaneous and unpredictable choices that originate in the subjective and disparate orientations of individual agents denies us the possibility of rational expectations, and therewith the logical coherence of market equilibrium through time. -- Suggested Citation - Greg Hill. "FROM HAYEK TO KEYNES: G.L.S. Shackle and Our Ignorance of the Future" Critical Review (2004). Available at: -- downloaded pdf to Note
intellectual_history  economic_theory  macroeconomics  equilibrium  rational_expectations  decision_theory  Keynesian  Hayek  Austrian_economics  probability  uncertainty  causation-social  determinism  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
Brian Leiter, Michael Weisberg - Why Evolutionary Biology is (so Far) Irrelevant to Law (2007, last revised 2014) :: SSRN
U of Texas Law, Law & Econ Research Paper No. 81 -- U of Texas Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 89 -- We argue that as the actual science stands today, evolutionary biology offers nothing to help with questions about legal regulation of behavior. -- Evolutionary accounts are etiological accounts of how a trait evolved. [A]n account of causal etiology could be relevant to law if (1) the account of causal etiology is scientifically well-confirmed, and (2) there is an explanation of how the well-confirmed etiology bears on questions of development (the Environmental Gap Objection). ....the accounts of causal etiology that might be relevant are not remotely well-confirmed by scientific standards. We argue, in particular, that (a) evolutionary psychology is not entitled to assume selectionist accounts of human behaviors, (b) the assumptions necessary for the selectionist accounts to be true are not warranted by standard criteria for theory choice, and (c) only confusions about levels of explanation of human behavior create the appearance that understanding the biology of behavior is important. We also note that no response to the Environmental Gap Objection has been proffered. In the concluding section of the article, we turn directly to the work of Prof Owen Jones, a leading proponent of the relevance of evolutionary biology to law, and show that he does not come to terms with any of the fundamental problems identified in this article. -- downloaded pdf to Note
paper  SSRN  legal_theory  philosophy_of_science  philosophy_of_law  philosophy_of_social_science  evolution-social  evolutionary_biology  evo_psych  causation-social  causation-evolutionary  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
Brian Leiter - Legal Realisms, Old and New :: SSRN (2012 Seegers Lecture in Jurisprudence) - Forthcoming in Valparaiso Law Review (2013)
“Legal Realism” now has sufficient cache that scholars from many different fields and countries compete to claim the mantle of the "Realist program": from political scientists who study judicial behavior, to the "law and society" scholars associated with the Wisconsin New Legal Realism project, to philosophers interested in a naturalized jurisprudence. But what does it mean to be a “legal realist”? What unites the two most famous “old” Legal Realisms — the American and the Scandinavian — with the “new legal realism” invoked, variously, by sociologists, anthropologists, and political scientists, among others? -- I argue that (1) American and Scandinavian Realism have almost nothing in common — indeed, that H.L.A. Hart misunderstood the latter as he did the former, and that the Scandinavians are closer to Hart and even Kelsen than they are to the Americans; (2) all Realists share skepticism about the causal efficacy of legal doctrine in explaining judicial decisions ("the Skeptical Doctrine") (though the Scandinavian skepticism on this score is not at all specific to the legal domain, encompassing all explanation in terms of norms); (3) American Realism almost entirely eschewed social-scientific methods in its defense of the Skeptical Doctrine, contrary to the impression given by much recent work by "new" legal realists; (4) the myth that the American Realists were seriously interested in social science derives mainly from two unrepresentative examples, Underhill Moore's behaviorism and Llewellyn's work with the Cheyenne Indians. -- Keywords: American legal realism, Scandinavian legal realism, Karl Llewellyn, Axel Hagerstrom, Alf Ross, naturalism, H.L.A. Hart, Hans Kelsen, judicial behavior
article  SSRN  philosophy_of_law  social_theory  intellectual_history  intellectual_history-distorted  legal_theory  legal_realism  social_sciences  anthropology  sociology_of_law  normativity  norms  causation  causation-social  positivism-legal  naturalism  social_process  judiciary  behavioralism  Hart  Kelsen  US_legal_system  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader

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