Varieties of social explanation : an introduction to the philosophy of social science /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Little, Daniel
Imprint:Boulder : Westview Press, 1991.
Description:xiii, 258 p. ; 24 cm.
Subject:Social sciences -- Methodology
Social sciences -- Philosophy
Social sciences -- Methodology.
Social sciences -- Philosophy.
Format: Print Book
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Hidden Bibliographic Details
0813305667 (pbk.)
Notes:Includes bibliographical references (p. 239-249) and index.
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Little introduces the philosophy of social science by examining an array of proffered social scientific explanations. He groups these explanations into certain types: causal, rational choice, interpretational, functional, structural, materialist, and statistical. Using examples drawn from social scientific research, Little presents an analysis of each type of explanation and considers some of the difficulties and criticisms faced by each. The book concludes with chapters on methodological individualism, relativism, and naturalism. Although he argues for the centrality of causality to social scientific explanation, Little also recognizes that social processes involve human subjects acting in cultural environments and argues for a view of interpretational, functional, structural, and rational choice explanations as complementary forms of causal analysis. In this sense, Little argues for a methodological pluralism in the social sciences. Because of the acuteness of Little's argument, the book is of value to specialists. Because of its accessible treatment of current controversies, the book is valuable to undergraduates, lower-division and up, and to general readers as well.

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review