Philosophy of the Social Sciences
This course examines philosophical problems of social science concerning what societies are like and how scientists theorize about them. The first part of the course will focus on questions of scientific method about the nature of understanding and the kind of knowledge the social sciences should, or can, aim for; as well as on questions of ontology pertaining to the nature of the social world. The overarching goal is to provide an intellectual geography of the philosophy of the social sciences, to which students will refer in the second part of the course when specific philosophical issues will be closely analysed and discussed. Contents to be covered in the second term will be structured around three main themes: action, rationality and intelligibility; institutions, culture, and the relationship between mind and society; and the moral aims of the social sciences, as well as their role in just social change.
Dr Bronwyn Tarr
Prof Carl Gombrich
This course is available on the MSc in Economics and Philosophy, MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy, MSc in Philosophy of Science and MSc in Philosophy of the Social Sciences. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.
Essay (25%, 2000 words) in the LT.
Essay (25%, 2000 words) in the MT and LT.
Take-home assessment (50%) in the ST.
Summative assessment for PH405 will consist of two essays and a take-home exam. Of the four essays assigned over the course (two in Michaelmas term, two in Lent term), the two essays which received the highest marks will be selected to count towards 50% of the final grade (i.e., 25% for each essay). In Summer term, a take-home exam, to be completed over the course of a week, will also be set.