dunnettreader + mechanisms-social_theory   9

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 - Utilité ou Rationalité (2002) | Scribd
21 page article -- Explains why "rational choice" fails as explanatory theory in lots of collective action, public opinion, game theory, etc. -- domains where decisions to act aren't based exclusively on instrumental, consequentialist, cost-benefit calculative, and egoistic (directly concerned with impact on self) forms of, and context for, reasoning. Boudon finds "rational choice" superior to hand-wavy explanations that are speculative "black boxes" -- e.g. (1) sociobiology or evo-devo that we're hardwired, (2) Kahneman and Tversky heuristics and biases -- fascinating observations but aren't explanatory, (3) social/cultural explanations such as "socialization" which are tautological or a black box that provide no mechanisms that can differentiate situations or variations in outcomes. E.g. in Roman Empire peasants were more likely to remain pagan and soldiers were more likely to be attracted to the new religion. "Socialization" doesn't explain why soldiers raised in the traditional religious milieu and belief system were more likely to change their beliefs. Great examples of how rationality includes cognitive processes dealing with (1) non-instrumental contexts - e.g. identification with communitarian concerns ranging from voting to immigration policies, (2) aligning actions with one's judgment of what's more likely "true" based on core beliefs and how one has learned to evaluate "evidence" [e.g. Swedes are even more likely to reject "lump of labor" than Americans!] (3) axiological reasoning, including norms of fairness that may be fairly universal (e.g. reaction to Antigone, ultimatum game) or specific to a culture (e.g. due process in political application of "rule of law") -- see article for his tripartite classification of rationality and types of cognition that "rational choice" rejects in its definition. He thinks Weber and Adam Smith got there before, and better than, Becker.
article  Scribd  social_theory  mechanisms-social_theory  evolutionary_biology  evo_psych  rational_choice  rationality-economics  rationality-bounded  rationality  reasons  Weber  Smith  Becker_Gary  Simon_Herbert  fairness  community  identity  norms  epistemology-social  game_theory  altruism  cognitive_bias  cognition  cognition-social  democracy  citizens  voting  political_participation  collective_action  political_culture  public_choice  public_opinion  common_good  socialization  social_psychology  cost-benefit  self-interest  self-interest-cultural_basis  self-and-other  EF-add 
april 2015 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
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
Neil Gross - Charles Tilly and American Pragmatism | JSTOR: The American Sociologist, Vol. 41, No. 4 (December 2010), pp. 337-357
Charles Tilly's work on repertoires of contention and social mechanisms was pathbreaking. In this article, I argue that his understanding of both concepts overlaps with social-theoretical work informed by the philosophical tradition of classical American pragmatism. There is no evidence that Tilly was influenced by pragmatism, but I argue that the overlap is substantial enough that large portions of his oeuvre can serve as illustrations of the explanatory power of pragmatist social science—and that Tilly's theorization of mechanisms in particular would have been even stronger had he engaged pragmatism directly. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  intellectual_history  social_theory  20thC  pragmatism  conflict  habit  mechanisms-social_theory  causation-social  Tilly  downloaded  EF-add 
may 2014 by dunnettreader
Anya Plutynski, review - Hsiang-Ke Chao, Szu-Ting Chen, and Roberta L. Millstein (eds.), Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // March 2014
Reviewed by Anya Plutynski, Washington University in St. Louis -- while the themes are consistent, the authors' examples, approaches and conclusions were not. I take this to be one of the strengths of the volume: reading it is like listening in on a conversation among amicable but not always like-minded peers. Some authors place a good deal of emphasis on the utility of the mechanistic perspective in addressing core problems in philosophy of science (Darden, Carl Craver and Marie Kaiser, Steel); others see mechanism as less central to characterizing scientific explanation, method, or discovery, at least in some domains (Till Grüne-Yanoff, David Teirra and Julian Reiss). While the dividing lines are not always so sharp, one can draw some rough and general conclusions: while thinking in terms of mechanisms can be enormously important, especially in applied contexts where concerns of intervention and control dominate, there are a wide array of open philosophical questions about how we use formal models in representing dynamical behavior, what kinds of statistical tools are best at assessing causal relationships, and when we have a causal relation in general that may or may not avail itself of mechanistic thinking. It seems that when and why thinking in terms of mechanism is of use is a very context specific matter.
books  reviews  philosophy_of_science  mechanism  mechanisms-social_theory  causation  causation-evolutionary  evolutionary_biology  economic_theory  economic_models  statistics  EF-add 
march 2014 by dunnettreader
Edgar Kiser and Michael Hechter - The Debate on Historical Sociology: Rational Choice Theory and Its Critics | JSTOR: American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 104, No. 3 (November 1998), pp. 785-816
In the past two decades, many sociologists have denied the usefulness of general theories in favor of more particularistic approaches to historical explanation, which makes it difficult to specify both the causal relations and the causal mechanisms that account for social outcomes. This article offers some philosophical and theoretical justifications for the use of general theory in historical analysis and contends that general theory guides the selection of facts, provides a source of generalizable causal mechanisms, facilitates the cumulation of knowledge across substantive domains, reveals anomalies that lead to new questions, and creates the conditions under which existing theories can be supplanted by superior ones. The authors further outline the concrete research practices that flow from their approach and discuss several empirical studies that exemplify these five advantages. -- cited by 20 in jstor -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  social_theory  historical_sociology  causation-social  mechanisms-social_theory  rational_choice  explanation  downloaded  EF-add 
february 2014 by dunnettreader

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