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date: 24 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Naturalism is still facing a strong opposition in the philosophy of social science from influential scholars who argue that philosophical analysis must be autonomous from scientific investigation. The opposition exploits philosophers’ traditional diffidence toward social science and fuels the ambition to provide new foundations for social research. A classic anti-naturalist strategy is to identify a feature of social reality that prevents scientific explanation and prediction. An all-time favorite is the dependence of social phenomena on human representation. This article examines two prominent versions of the dependence thesis and concludes that they both fail. Contemporary social science is capable of accounting for the causal dependence of social reality on representation, and there is no reason to believe that social entities are ontologically dependent on the collective acceptance of a constitutive rule.

Keywords: social science, philosophy of social science, naturalism, anti-naturalism, money, interactive kinds, causal dependence, ontological dependence, constitutive rule

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