Summary: Philosophy Of Social Science | 9780415898256 | Mark Risjord

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  • 1 Lecture 1: Introduction

  • 1.1 What is the Philosophy of Social Science?

  • In which three broad themes can the questions distinctive to the philosophy of social sciences be encompassed?

    Normativity = the place of values in social scientific inquiry
    Naturalism = the relationship between the natural and social sciences
    Reductionism = how social structures relate to the individuals who constitute them
  • 1.1.1 The Democratic Peace

  • What is the democratic peace and what question does it pose for the social sciences?

    Kant made an argument that in a democratic country, there would be a small chance of war because the costs are so high. Elected governments will be reluctant to go to war, unless the situation was dire. This was one of the cases where a theory inspired research
  • 1.1.2 Azande Witchcraft

  • Why is the story about Azande Witchcraft included in this book?

    Azande Witchcraft is important to anthropologists, because in some ethnic group in central Africa, there was reported that groups held a witch responsible and killed that person for the illness or death of someone, because they were witches. The question here is how can be know the contents of another persons' mind? Are all humans rational?
  • 1.1.3 Freedom Riders and Free Riders

  • What is the free rider problem and how is it described?

    It is described as Rosa Parks: she refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama. If everybody stood up, the laws could be changed. But if one person did not participate in the revolution, it would fail. Otherwise, everyone would benefit from the movement.
  • What are the two answers to the free rider problem with completely different conceptions of human nature?

    Liberal = humans are autonomous choosers, each seeking their best interest. Community is only possible when it is beneficial
    Communitarians = humans are fundamentally social and oriented towards each other
  • 1.1.4 Philosophy in the Social Sciences

  • How will social science be understood in this book?

    All systematic empirical investigation into the activities of human beings, with the special interest in those things we do together, as part of larger social groups
  • 1.2 A Tour of the Philosophical Neighborhood

  • In what can the discipline of philosophy be divided into?

    Value theory: issues about the source and justification of values, rules and norms
    Epistemology: human knowledge and how this is justified
    Metaphysics: the fundamental characteristics of the world
  • 1.2.1 Normativity

  • On which two different ways can norms, values and rules enter the social sciences?

    It is part of what the social sciences study & there are norms that social scientists recognize in their own society
  • What is value freedom?

    Must social scientific reproach be conducted without commitment to ethical or political values. => answer of many philosophers is no
  • 1.2.2 Naturalism

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  • What is specifically important for metaphysical and epistemological forms of naturalism?

    Metaphysical = humans are part of the natural world, and therefore they must be understood in terms of the same causes and mechanisms that animate all other creatures
    Epistemological = issues about theory, explanation and method
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