Chapter

Social Theory

Philip Pettit

in The Common Mind

Published in print September 1996 | ISBN: 9780195106459
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199872251 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195106458.003.0005
 Social Theory

Show Summary Details

Preview

What are the implications of holistic individualism for social explanation? This chapter argues that it points us toward a distinctive picture of individual‐level interpretation, under which we seek out the contents of people's thoughts – the reasons from which they implicitly or explicitly reason their way to action. It then goes on to show that nevertheless, it makes room for explanation of a sort that prescinds from such thoughts: structural and historicist explanation, which goes to high‐level or remote determinants; and rational‐choice explanation, which invokes a sort of self‐interest that has no obvious presence in day‐to‐day reasoning. Explanatory pluralism or ecumenism is quite consistent, then, with the ontological picture developed earlier.

Keywords: decision theory; explanation; inference theory; methodological individualism; resilience

Chapter.  31209 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.