PHIL 301 Philosophy of Social Sciences Select Term:
This course is an introduction to the main issues and approaches in the philosophy of social sciences, with a focus on questions of methodology. These include whether social sciences employ a methodology different from that of the natural sciences; whether explanations in terms of reasons differ in any way from those in terms of causes; the nature of social reality; the relationship between individuals and social structures; the debate between methodological individualism and methodological holism; whether social sciences are value-free or not and the problem of objectivity. General approaches to be discussed are positivism, realism, the hermeneutical-interpretive and critical schools. These approaches and issues will be exemplified in the context of various social scientific disciplines.