- Introduction: Doing Philosophy of Social Science
- Micro, Macro, and Mechanisms
- Mechanisms, Causal Modeling, and the Limitations of Traditional Multiple Regression
- Process Tracing and Causal Mechanisms
- Descriptive-Causal Generalizations: “Empirical Laws” in the Social Sciences?
- Useful Complex Causality
- Partial Explanations in Social Science
- Mechanistic Social Probability: How Individual Choices and Varying Circumstances Produce Stable Social Patterns
- The Impact of Duhemian Principles on Social Science Testing and Progress
- Philosophy and the Practice of Bayesian Statistics in the Social Sciences
- Sciences of Historical Tokens and Theoretical Types: History and the Social Sciences
- RCTs, Evidence, and Predicting Policy Effectiveness
- Bringing Context and Variability Back into Causal Analysis
- The Potential Value of Computational Models in Social Science Research
- Models of Culture
- The Evolutionary Program in Social Philosophy
- Cultural Evolution: Integration and Skepticism
- Coordination and the Foundations of Social Intelligence
- Making Race Out of Nothing: Psychologically Constrained Social Roles
- A Feminist Empirical and Integrative Approach in Political Science: Breaking Down the Glass Wall?
- Social Constructions of Mental Illness
- Cooperation and Reciprocity: Empirical Evidence and Normative Implications
- Evaluating Social Policy
- Values and the Science of Well-Being: A Recipe for Mixing
Abstract and Keywords
This article draws on several elements of Pierre Duhem's account of science to show issues of the cumulation of knowledge and scientific progress in the social sciences. It concentrates on Duhem's principle of underdetermination of theory by evidence, his holist account of the growth of scientific knowledge, and his conventionalist view of theories. Willard Van Ormand Quine's version is holism on a still larger scale than Duhem's. Duhem's appeal to le bon sens does not present any damaging subjectivity into an account of science beyond what most philosophers of science recognize. It is clear that no measure-stipulation has been accepted by contemporary authors on all sides of the balance-of-power debate. It is shown that the concept of the measure-stipulation can explain the progress or absence of progress of debates in social science just as well as those in the natural sciences.
Fred Chernoff is Harvey Picker Professor of International Relations and chair of the Department of Political Science at Colgate University. He holds a PhD in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in political science from Yale University. He has held research posts at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Rand Corporation, and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. He is author of After Bipolarity (University of Michigan Press, 1995), The Power of International Theory (Routledge, 2005) and Theory and Metatheory in International Relations (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2007) and has contributed to many journals of international relations and philosophy, including International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Millennium, International Theory, European Journal of International Relations, Philosophical Quarterly, Mind, and Analysis.
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