- 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
The new models of culture have opened different possibilities for the explanation of action, and they present interesting challenges to the familiar ways of understanding agency. In this article, the Boasian model and the functionalist model of culture are elaborated. The neo-Boasian model, the epidemiological model, and practice theory can map the contemporary literature. Practice theory tries to split the difference between theories that treat social structures as the primary determinant of action and those which prioritize individual choices. With respect to the structure-and-agency issue, both epidemiological models and practice theories have something analogous to structure, even if they have dispensed with a conception of culture/society as a system of rules. Contemporary models of culture are a fertile ground for redeveloping the epistemological and metaphysical issues of the social sciences.
Mark Risjord is a professor of philosophy at Emory University. He received his PhD in philosophy from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1990. His research interests include the epistemological foundations of the social sciences, the role of values in scientific research, and the philosophy of the health sciences.
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