Philosophy of Social Science

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9780813345925: Philosophy of Social Science

Philosophy of Social Science provides a tightly argued yet accessible introduction to the philosophical foundations of the human sciences, including economics, anthropology, sociology, political science, psychology, history, and the disciplines emerging at the intersections of these subjects with biology. Philosophy is unavoidable for social scientists because the choices they make in answering questions in their disciplines force them to take sides on philosophical matters. Conversely, the social and behavior sciences must inform philosophers' understanding of human action, norms, and social institutions.

The fourth edition retains an illuminating interpretation of the enduring relations between the social sciences and philosophy, and it has now been thoroughly revised to better fit courses, including fifteen chapters, with more effective transitions and helpful summaries. This edition also includes three new chapters on philosophical anthropology, functionalism as a research program, and theories of cultural evolution, as well as enhanced discussions of the role of norms and speech acts in social construction in interpretive social science and a chapter on continental philosophers of social science.

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About the Author:

Alexander Rosenberg is R. Taylor Cole Professor of Philosophy at Duke University. He is author of many books and papers in the philosophy of science, including The Philosophy of Science: A Contemporary Approach, The Philosophy of Biology: A Contemporary Approach, and Economics—Mathematical Politics or Science of Diminishing Returns (winner of the prestigious Lakatos Prize). In 2007, he was the national Phi Beta Kappa Romanell lecturer in philosophy.


"Once again, Alexander Rosenberg has set the bar for books on the philosophy of social science. An outstanding introduction, even for those who are already in the discipline."
James Bohman, Saint Louis University

"This was already a very useful book for teaching philosophy of social science. It covers many important topics in an engaging way. This edition is even better, with interesting new material and a reorganization with pedagogy in mind. It will make for a great course in philosophy of social science."
Harold Kincaid, University of Cape Town

"Ever since the first edition of Alexander Rosenberg's Philosophy of Social Science appeared in 1988, it has been indispensable for anyone teaching the subject at all levels from absolute beginners on. Each new edition has been still more indispensable as a teaching aid, but also as a source of new ideas and insights about changes in the philosophy of science and in the social sciences themselves. This new edition preserves the freshness and liveliness of the first edition, and has added new depths of reflectiveness and a wider range of reference without any loss of the sprightliness and lucidity that readers have treasured for twenty-four years. It is a very considerable achievement."
Alan Ryan, Princeton University

"The fourth edition of Philosophy of Social Science retains an illuminating interpretation of the enduring relations between the social sciences and philosophy, and it has been revised and reorganized to better fit courses . As before, it is a tightly argued yet accessible introduction."

Praise for Previous Editions:

"What is social science? Study of causes or of interpretation? Holistic or reductionistic? Morally neutral or morally engaged? Rosenberg's text provides a thorough, clear and remarkably evenhanded exposition and examination of these fascinating, important, and loaded issues."
Paul Teller, University of California, Davis

"A model of clarity, scope, and analytical precision, this book is both a superb introductory text and a work of outstanding scholarship."
Lee McIntyre, Colgate University; coeditor of Readings in the Philosophy of Social Science

"A splendid introduction to the subject. It addresses in a marvelously coherent and engaging way virtually all the major philosophical issues to which the social sciences give rise. Philosophy of Social Science is both a pedagogical masterpiece and a work of serious philosophical interest."
Daniel M. Hausman, University Wisconsin

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