Philosophy of the Social Sciences
This information is for the 2013/14 session.
Prof Jason Alexander LAK. T501b
This course is available on the BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics, BSc in International Relations, BSc in Philosophy and Economics, BSc in Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method and BSc in Politics and Philosophy. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available to General Course students.
No formal pre-requisites, but PH103 Reason Knowledge and Values: An Introduction to Philosophy or equivalent is recommended.
Philosophical issues concerning the nature of social scientific theory and its applications. Topics to be covered will include some or all of the following: the explanation and interpretation of action; naturalist and hermeneutic social theory; the nature of social facts; reductionism and methodological individualism; functional and structural explanations; rationality and relativism; the role of values in social science; social norms; the construction of social reality; methods of evolutionary explanation in the social sciences; philosophical and methodological critiques of evolutionary psychology. In additional, philosophical problems of particular social sciences such as anthropology, sociology, and economics will also be addressed.
10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT.
Students will be expected to write two essays per term and to give class presentations.
A detailed reading list may be found on the Moodle page for the course. Useful preliminary background readings include: The Philosophy of Social Science Reader Francesco Guala and Daniel Steel (eds); Daniel Little, Varieties of Social Explanation; Alex Rosenberg, Philosophy of Social Science; Martin Hollis, The Philosophy of Social Science; Brian Skyrms, Evolution of the Social Contract. A useful anthology is Readings in the Philosophy of Social Science, edited by Michael Martin and Lee McIntyre.
Exam (67%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (33%, 2000 words) in the LT.
Student performance results
(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)
|Classification||% of students|
Total students 2012/13: 24
Average class size 2012/13: 6
Value: One Unit
- Team working
- Problem solving
- Specialist skills