Ontology, methodological individualism, and the foundations of the social sciences

Sugden, Robert (2016) Ontology, methodological individualism, and the foundations of the social sciences. Journal of Economic Literature, 54 (4). pp. 1377-1389. ISSN 0022-0515

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Abstract

This is a review essay, based on a critical assessment of The Ant Trap by Brian Epstein. Epstein argues that models in the social sciences are inadequate because they are based on a false ontology of methodological individualism, and proposes a new model of social ontology. I examine this model and point to flaws in it. More generally, I argue against Epstein’s methodological approach, which treats social ontology as prior to social scientific modelling and as certifying the ‘building blocks’ that modellers then use. I argue that modellers can legitimately shape the building blocks for their own models.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: ontology,methodological individualism,social fact,collective intention
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Economics
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2016 09:09
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2020 23:36
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/57645
DOI: 10.1257/jel.20151372

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