History And Philosophy Of Science | X355 Philosophy of Social Science (3 cr.)
X355 | 2717 | Koertge


X355 Philosophy of Social Science (3 cr.)
Time and Day: 1:00p-2:15p TR
Place: GB107
Section: 2717
Noretta Koertge
Since the social sciences study people while the natural sciences study animals, vegetables and
minerals, it seems that the procedures used in history, sociology, anthropology might well be
significantly different from those found in physics, astronomy and chemistry.  Many
philosophers and some social scientists, however, would argue strongly for a unity of all
sciences.  ARE the methods and structure of the social sciences different from those found in the
natural sciences?  If so, what is their distinctive character?
In the first half of this seminar we will read articles in an anthology edited by Martin and
McIntyre: READINGS IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF SOCIAL SCIENCE (MIT Press, 1995).
The second half of the course will focus on a particularly controversial topic, SOCIAL
CONSTRUCTIVISM.  Our readings here will include Searle, THE CONSTRUCTION OF
SOCIAL REALITY (Free Press, 1995).
There are no formal prerequisites for this course, but students should have had at least informal
exposure to some of the basic issues in philosophy of science, such as via courses in this
department of through considerable exposure to methodological issues in their social science
classes.
Students will be expected to keep up with the readings and participate in discussion, make an
oral presentation and write a research paper.