Chasing Phenomena: Studies on classification and conceptual change in the social and behavioral sciences

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles

Abstract

The articles comprising this dissertation concern classification and concept formation in the social and behavioral sciences. In particular, the emphasis in the study is on the philosophical analysis of interdisciplinary settings created by the recent intellectual developments on the interfaces between the social sciences, psychology, and neuroscience. The need for a systematic examination of the problems of conceptual coordination and integration across disciplinary boundaries is illustrated by focusing on phenomena whose satisfactory explanation requires drawing together the theoretical resources from a variety of disciplines.
In philosophy, questions regarding the nature of scientific concepts have often been framed in terms of theories of natural kinds. For this reason, analysis of the notion of natural kind as well as examination of how theories of natural kinds should be connected to recent philosophical accounts of scientific explanation and mechanisms form the core of the study. Building on contemporary discussions on these topics in the philosophy of biology, the philosophy of cognitive science, and the philosophy of the social sciences, the articles develop a mechanistic theory of natural kinds in the social and behavioral sciences, and scrutinize its applicability and usefulness as a theory of conceptual change in interdisciplinary settings. The study suggests that, although the mechanistic theory cannot account for the functioning of the whole range of scientific concepts, interweaving biological, cognitive, and social mechanisms – in the manner suggested by the mechanistic theory – offers a naturalistic and non-reductionist basis for conceptualizing epistemic coordination across disciplinary boundaries.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationHelsinki
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-952-10-9026-4
Electronic ISBNs978-952-10-9027-1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2013
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Fields of Science

  • 5141 Sociology

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