The Logic of Explanation in the Social Sciences

The Logic of Explanation in the Social Sciences

By Enzo Di Nuoscio

October 2018, hardback, 190 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-905622-48-1
European Studies in Social Theory

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In this book the distinguished Italian philosopher and sociologist Enzo Di Nuoscio investigates the classical problems of methodology of the social sciences (in particular, the contrapositions between “individualism” and “collectivism”, “explanation” and “comprehension”). He discusses the notions of “causality”, “scientific law”, objectivity”, “empathy”, “hermeneutic circle”, “rationality of action”, “scientific fact”, “unintentional consequences”, “spontaneous order”, and “the dispersion of knowledge”.

A range of different methodological perspectives are examined with the aim of exploring their limits and heuristic potential. Professor Di Nuoscio pays particular attention to the contribution that each methodological paradigm can make to the definition of a method which can permit the social sciences to satisfy the epistemological standards of objectivity and falsifiability. In particular, he suggests a method which combines three research traditions: methodological individualism, hermeneutics and the nomological theory of explanation.

Rich in examples and references to the history of the social sciences, this textbook offers a rigorous defence of the possibility of objective explanations in the human and social sciences.

About the Author:

Enzo Di Nuoscio is professor of the Philosophy of Science at the University of Molise, where he is Director of the Department of Human and Social Sciences. He also teaches Methodology of the Social Sciencesat the LUISS University of Rome. His most recent books are: (with R. Boudon, P. Demeulenaere, K.-D. Opp) Filosofia dell’azione e teoriedella razionalità, Rome, 2004; Tucidide come Einstein? La spiegazione scientifica in storiografia, Soveria Mannelli, 2005; Epistemologia del dialogo, Rome, 2011, Ermeneutica ed economia, Soveria Mannelli, 2014; Elogio della mente critica, Rome, 2016; (with D. Antiseri, F. Felice), Democrazia avvelenata, Soveria Mannelli, 2018.



Chapter 1: Learning By Errors: The Unified Method
Chapter 2: When the Explanation is Scientific
Chapter 3: Laws and Models: The “Roof” of Scientific Explanation
Chapter 4: Understanding an Action: Explaining It
Chapter 5: Facts: The “Basis” of Scientific Explanation
Chapter 6: The Place of Values: Objectivity is Not a Myth
Chapter 7: Individualism/Collectivism: The “Disputatio Perennis”
Chapter 8: Human Action Has Its Reasons
Chapter 9: From Micro to Macro: The “Invisible Hand Explanation”
Chapter 10: Dispersion of Knowledge and Social Order


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