Lectures: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session
This course offers an advanced survey of current debates about the ontology, methodology, and aims of the social sciences. Core readings will address questions such as:
We will consider specific topics for discussion and additional readings depending on the interests of the seminar participants. Additional case studies will also be provided.
A set of questions will be assigned for each week based on the readings. Participants are expected to come to class having prepared short answers to the questions.
Students should plan to read at least one case study of an explanation of a social phenomenon, and be prepared to provide a brief (10 min.) summary of the study to the class sometime during the term. Some case studies are listed on the reading schedule. Contact the instructor for assistance finding one of interest.
Students taking the course for credit must do a presentation of material related to the assigned readings once during the term. Ideally, the presentation will be on the topic of the student's term paper.
A 20-25 page term paper must be submitted for the course, a full draft of which should be submitted by the "end of term meeting" in December.
The final grade will be determined using the following weights:
|2||What is "the social"?|
|3||Institutions and Practices|
|5||Reductionism, Individualism, Holism|
|6||Explanation, Prediction, Laws|
|7||Interpretation and Meaning|
|8||Rational Choice Explanations I|
|9||Rational Choice Explanations II|
|13||Values and Objectivity|