The following is the webpage for Merrilee Salmon's course on the philosophy of social science, given at Kyoto University, Spring 2000.

The page was prepared by Soshichi Uchii, who, as the host, assisted Salmon's course.

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Merrilee Salmon & S. Uchii, Seminar on the Philosophy of Social Science

The following anthology is going to be used for students's readings. For new information, visit this site occasionally! The follwong anthology will be available at the University bookseller, Renais (already ordered).

Michael Martin and Lee C. McIntyre, eds., Readings in the Philosophy of Social Science, MIT Press, 1994

After a period of dormancy, the philosophy of social science is beginning to reemerge as a vibrant and exciting field of philosophical inquiry. This book is a manifestation of this emergence, as well as an attempt to further it. Anthologies such as May Brodbeck's Readings in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences and Leonard Krimerman's The Nature and Scope of Social Science, which almost defined the field through the 1970s, are now long out of print and out of date. ... Since then, work in the philosophy of social science has continued to move forward, fueled by new scholarship on issues such as the debate about interpretation, reduction, and problems in the special sciences, as well as continued focus on problems of longstanding concern in the field, such as the nature of explanation, prediction, objectivity, and functionalism.

Our aim in this anthology is to provide a comprehensive collection of both classical and contemporary pieces in order to bring the resources available in the field up to date. Indeed, since the early 1980s, there has been a resurgence of interest in the philosophy of social science, spawned by increasing methodological self-consciousness among practioners of social science and recognition of the importance of closer ties between philosophical inquiry and ongoing work in the social sciences, as well as renewed interest in traditional philosophical debates about the nature of relationship between the natural and social sciences. ...

Over the intervening years, however, there has been one constant: the dispute between the naturalist and the antinaturalist in the philosophy of social science. These two poles still define much of the debate in the field, even while their positions have been modified and made way for new contenders. Still, any resource for scholarship or teaching in the field must begin with an examination of the terms of this debate. (Introduction, xv)

Part I Introduction

Part II Explanation, Prediction, and Laws

Part III Interpretation and Meaning

Part IV Rationality

Part V Functional Explanation

Part VI Reductionism, Individualism, and Holism

Part VII Objectivity and Values

Part VIII Problems of the Special Sciences

Tentative Outline of Course in Philosophy Social Science

M. Salmon

All readings are to be found in READINGS IN THE PHILOSOPHY SOCIAL SCIENCE, edited by Martin and McIntyre.

1. First week of classes (4/18-4/20).

Topic: Introduction to the problem of whether there can be a science of human society on the model of the natural sciences. Reading: Introduction and Chapter 2 (Fay and Moon, "What would an adequate philosophy of social science look like?")

See Outline 1; Outline 2

2. Second week of classes (4/25-4/27)

Topic: Naturalism: explanation, prediction, and laws in the social sciences. Reading: Chapter 3 (Hempel, "The function of general laws in history")

See Outline 3; Outline 4

3. Third week of classes (5/2)

Topic: More about laws in the social sciences. Reading: Chapter 8 (Kincaid, "Defending laws in the social sciences")

See Outline 5

4. Fourth week of classes (5/9-5/11)

Topic: Humanism, or the interpretivists' challenge to the scientific model. Reading: Chapter 11 (Collingwood, "Human nature and human history")

See Outline 6; Outline 7

5. Fifth week of classes (5/16-5/18)

Topic: More on interpretivism. Reading: Chapter 13 (Taylor, "Interpretation and the sciences of man")

See Outline 8; Outline 9

6. Sixth week of classes (5/23-5/25)

Topic: Rationality and cognitive relativism. Reading: Chapter 18 (Lukes, "Some problems about rationality")

See Outline 10; Outline 11

7. Seventh week of classes (5/30-6/1)

Topic: Functional explanation. Reading: Chapter 24 (Cohen, "Functional explanation: In Marxism")

See Outline 12; Outline 13

8. Eighth week of classes (6/6-6/8)

Topic: More on functional explanation. Reading: Chapter 26 (Kincaid, "Assessing functional explanations in the social sciences") *Take-home exam distributed (see below).

See Outline 14; Outline 15

9. Ninth week of classes (6/13-6/15)

Topic: Individualism vs. holism. Reading: Chapter 27 (Durkheim, "Social facts") *Take-home exam to be returned (see below).

See Outline 16; Outline 17

10. Tenth week of classes (6/20-6/22)

Topic: Values in science. Reading: Chapter 34 (Weber, "'Objectivity' in social science and social policy")

See Outline 18; Outline 19

11. Eleventh week of classes (6/27)

Topic: Critical Approach. Reading: Chapter 40, Donald E. Comstock, "A Method for Critical Research"

See Outline 20

**Term papers due: 6/27. Papers completed before this date will be accepted gratefully.

*Examination: There will be one examination, to be given in the eighth week of classes. This will be a "take-home" exam, in which the students will be asked to write brief essays (500-1000 words) on each of three questions. Students should work independently, but may consult texts and other written materials in constructing their essays. Students will be given one week to complete the examination.

**Term paper: Students will be asked to write a term paper of approximately 10-15 pages in length. The topic of the paper should be decided in consultation with the instructor. Students are urged to present possible term paper topics no later than the ninth week of classes. Papers will be criticized by the instructor, and returned to the students for revision no later than 7/3. Final versions of the paper are due on 7/10 (Monday). Students can pick up their paper with Prof. Salmon's comments, on or after July 3, at Prof. Salmon's office.

Last modified Dec. 14, 2008.