What is a (social) structural explanation?
- 1.7k Downloads
A philosophically useful account of social structure must accommodate the fact that social structures play an important role in structural explanation. But what is a structural explanation? How do structural explanations function in the social sciences? This paper offers a way of thinking about structural explanation and sketches an account of social structure that connects social structures with structural explanation.
KeywordsSocial structure Explanation Structural explanation Practices Individualism
Thanks to Elizabeth Anderson, Dylan Bianchi, Brendon Dill, Jerome Hodges, Adam Hosein, Peter Railton, Brad Skow, Amie Thomasson, Stephen Yablo, and other participants at the Oberlin Colloquium for discussion and suggestions that improved this paper.
- Bicchieri, C. (2006). The cement of society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Bromberger, S. (1966). Why-questions. In Robert G. Colodny (Ed.), Mind and cosmos (pp. 86–111). Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
- Dretske, F. (1988). Explaining behavior: Reasons in a world of causes. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Epstein, B. (2014). What is individualism in social ontology? Ontological individualism versus anchor individualism. In F. Collin & J. Zahle (Eds.), Rethinking the individualism/holism debate: Essays in the philosophy of social science. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
- Garfinkel, A. (1981). Forms of explanation: Rethinking the questions in social theory. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Gilbert, M. (1992). On social facts. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Haslanger, S. (2014a). Individualism, interpretation, and injustice: A reply to Stahl, Betti and Mikkola. Krisis: Journal for Contemporary Philosophy, 1, 24–38.Google Scholar
- Haslanger, S. (2014b). Social meaning and philosophical method. In Proceedings and addresses of the American Philosophical Association. Google Scholar
- Jackson, F., & Pettit, P. (1992). Structural explanation in social theory. In David Charles & Kathleen Lennon (Eds.), Reduction, explanation and realism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Lewis, D. (1969). Convention: A philosophical study. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- List, C., & Pettit, P. (2013). Group agency: The possibility, design and status of corporate agents. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Macdonald, C., & Macdonald, G. (2006). Beyond program explanation. In Geoffrey Brennan, Robert E. Goodin, & Michael A. Smith (Eds.), Common minds: Essays in honour of Philip Pettit (pp. 1–27). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- McIntyre, A. (1981). After virtue. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
- Okin, S. (1989). Justice, gender and the family. NY: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Pettit, P. (1993). The common mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Risjord, M. W. (2000). Woodcutters and witchcraft: Rationality and interpretive change in the social sciences. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
- Searle, J. (1995). The construction of social reality. New York: Simon & Schuster (Free Press).Google Scholar
- Shapiro, S. (1997). Philosophy of mathematics: Structure and ontology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Shields, C. (1999). Order in multiplicity: Homonymy in the philosophy of Aristotle. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar