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Thalos, Mariam. A modest proposal for interpreting structural explanations
1998, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49(2): 279-295.
Added by: Nick Novelli
Abstract: Social sciences face a well-known problem, which is an instance of a general problem faced as well by psychological and biological sciences: the problem of establishing their legitimate existence alongside physics. This, as will become clear, is a problem in metaphysics. I will show how a new account of structural explanations, put forward by Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit, which is designed to solve this metaphysical problem with social sciences in mind, fails to treat the problem in any importantly new way. Then I will propose a more modest approach, and show how it does not deserve the criticism directed at a prototype by Jackson and Pettit

Comment: An interesting argument for the value of structual explanations in sociology. Useful in the context of a discussion of reductionism or of the proper classification of social sciences as real science.

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