PHIL 511 - Philosophy of Social Science
Section: 001
Term: WN 2011
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
Advisory Prerequisites:
Graduate standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course provides an examination of the logic of social science research through the writings of philosophers and social scientists. The philosophy of social science is a discipline that attempts to analyze the logic, methodology, modes of explanation, and methods of inquiry of the social sciences. The past dozen years have witnessed an explosion of valuable debate about foundational issues in sociology and other social sciences. The course is based on the assumption that both philosophers and social scientists will benefit from a better understanding of the conceptual and methodological issues that arise in the conduct of social science research. One of the goals of the discipline is to allow us to come to some judgments about the degree of validity and credibility that various social science theories have as assertions about the nature of the social world we experience. The course is premised on the assumption that the philosophy of social science should develop its theories and analyses by working closely with strong examples of good social science research. We should frame the defining questions of the philosophy of social science by reflecting upon the large conceptual and methodological issues that have actually been important to social scientists as they conduct their research and theory construction. The course will make use of recent writings by such social scientists as Abbott, Mahoney, Sewell, Steinmetz, Adams, Lieberson, and Shapiro as we explore recent debates about the foundations of social science explanation. Central topics will include the logic of comparative social science, the role of rational choice theory, the cultural turn, the utility of causal mechanisms, hidden assumptions in quantitative reasoning, and the nature of the social.

PHIL 511 - Philosophy of Social Science
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 9780521805889
Dynamics of contention, Author: McAdam, Doug., Publisher: Cambridge University Press 2001
ISBN: 9780521771795
Explaining social behavior : more nuts and bolts for the social sciences, Author: Elster, Jon, 1940-, Publisher: Cambridge University Press 2007
ISBN: 9780521816106
Comparative historical analysis in the social sciences, Publisher: Cambridge University Press 2003
ISBN: 9780521593199
Social mechanisms : an analytical approach to social theory, Publisher: Cambridge University Press 1998
ISBN: 0226000990
Department & discipline : Chicago sociology at one hundred, Author: Andrew Abbott., Publisher: The University of Chicago Press 1999
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for PHIL 511 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi
The CourseProfile (ART) system, supported by the U-M Provost’s 3rd Century Initiative through a grant to the Digital Innovation Greenhouse, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (ART)