Philosophy of Social Science
-- Description of the book --
The metatheoretical investigation of social science has been ongoing
since distinct social sciences emerged in the nineteenth century.
Early research was heavily informed by a vision of what claims and
research methods count as scientific. In some fields, an idealized
version of scientific method still informs empirical work. Although
this debate has continued in philosophy and in each of the social
science disciplines, it has lost much of its normative force. Since
the decline of positivism after the Second World War, it has become
less critical that researchers follow a precise definition of what
counts as scientific work. Consequently, researchers devote little
attention to defending their metatheoretical assumptions and even
methods specialists tend to focus more on debates within their own
discipline than on the project of social science. The debate between
philosophers and specialists in other disciplines has given way to
more localized discussions. This book will attempt to reopen a truly
interdisciplinary dialogue by exploring the relationship between
philosophy of science, philosophy of social science, and social
science research. Our goal is to bring together a collection of essays
covering these areas, with special attention to how the fields
interact and reshape each other.
-- Contributions we are looking for --
The topic of this book is interdisciplinary in nature. Naturally this
means that chapters will differ in their disciplinary emphasis.
However, even when a chapter heavily draws on the social sciences or
engineering practice, we would like it to be clear either how it
contributes to / invites philosophical reflection, or how
philosophical considerations have informed / influenced the research.
When in doubt about your idea for a contribution, please do not
hesitate to contact the editors to get some early feedback.
-- List of Topics --
• Normative and Critical Components of Political and Social Science
• Can there be a demarcation between science and pseudoscience?
• How does the attempt to emulate natural science shape the social
• Fact/Value dichotomy
• The Relevance of Issues in Philosophy of Science for Social Science
(Realism, Underdetermination, Pessimistic Meta-Induction from Past
• Are there paradigms in Social Science?
• Differences in Research in natural and social sciences
• Problems of Philosophy of Science in Canonical Works of Social
• Do interests drive research in social science?
• What are the requirements for an acceptable theory?
• What is a theory?
• What is the relation between contemporary philosophy and philosophy
of social science? What can social scientists learn from epistemology,
philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, etc.?
• What should be the unit of analysis (individual, family, community,
nation, etc) in social science?
• How can philosophy of science inform the agent-structure-debate?
• Can social science discover laws that govern social action?
• The role of interpretation and meaning in social science?
• Sociology of knowledge
• Empiricism and positivism in social science
• Related topics are also welcome
-- How to participate --
Please submit a chapter proposal to the editors no later than July
1st, 2010. The chapter proposal should include
• separate cover letter with personal information included
• an anonymous 400-600 word abstract
• a short biography
If your proposal has been approved, your chapter will go through two
revisions. Between revisions, you will receive feedback from the
editors and the reviewers on your chapter. Final contributions to the
book should be between 6000 and 8000 words.
-- Further planning --
• July 1st, 2010 – Deadline for chapter proposals
• Sept 15th 2010 - Editors will inform authors if their proposal has
been selected for the book
• Dec. 30th 2010 - Deadline for the draft full chapter
• May 1st 2011 - Deadline for the final version of the chapter
-- Contact Information --
Please direct all requests and submissions to philosophyofsocialscience@