Varieties of Social Explanation: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Social Science

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Westview Press, 1991 - Philosophy - 258 pages
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Professor Little presents an introduction to the philosophy of social science with an emphasis on the central forms of explanation in social science: rational-intentional, causal, functional, structural, materialist, statistical and interpretive. The book is very strong on recent developments, particularly in its treatment of rational choice theory, microfoundations for social explanation, the idea of supervenience, functionalism, and current discussions of relativism.Of special interest is Professor Little’s insight that, like the philosophy of natural science, the philosophy of social science can profit from examining actual scientific examples. Throughout the book, philosophical theory is integrated with recent empirical work on both agrarian and industrial society drawn from political science, sociology, geography, anthropology, and economics.Clearly written and well structured, this text provides the logical and conceptual tools necessary for dealing with the debates at the cutting edge of contemporary philosophy of social science. It will prove indispensible for philosophers, social scientists and their students.

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About the author (1991)

Daniel Little is associate professor of philosophy at Colgate University and visiting scholar at the Center for International Affairs, Harvard University.

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