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Alexandrova, Anna, , Robert Northcott. It’s just a feeling: why economic models do not explain
2013, Journal of Economic Methodology, 20(3), 262-267
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Patricia Rich

Abstract: Julian Reiss correctly identified a trilemma about economic models: we cannot maintain that they are false, but nevertheless explain and that only true accounts explain. In this reply we give reasons to reject the second premise – that economic models explain. Intuitions to the contrary should be distrusted.

Comment: This is a good short article to read alongside Reiss' important paper on the explanation paradox, in the context of a philosophy of economics or social science class. It argues against Reiss' premise that economic models are explanatory. It draws on, but does not require, knowledge of anyone's positions in the larger debate on the status of formal models.

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Anderson, Elizabeth, , . Ethical Assumptions in Economic Theory: Some Lessons from the History of Credit and Bankruptcy
2004, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7.4, 347-360
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by:

Abstract: This paper evaluates the economic assumptions of economic theory via an examination of the capitalist transformation of creditor-debtor relations in the 18th century. This transformation enabled masses of people to obtain credit without moral opprobrium or social subordination. Classical 18th century economics had the ethical concepts to appreciate these facts. Ironically, contemporary economic theory cannot. I trace this fault to its abstract representations of freedom, efficiency, and markets. The virtues of capitalism lie in the concrete social relations and social meanings through which capital and commodities are exchanged. Contrary to laissez faire capitalism, the conditions for sustaining these concrete capitalist formations require limits on freedom of contract and the scope of private property rights.

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Anderson, Elizabeth, , . Uses of value judgments in science: A general argument, with lessons from a case study of feminist research on divorce
2004, Hypatia 19 (1):1-24.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Abstract: The underdetermination argument establishes that scientists may use political values to guide inquiry, without providing criteria for distinguishing legitimate from illegitimate guidance. This paper supplies such criteria. Analysis of the confused arguments against value-laden science reveals the fundamental criterion of illegitimate guidance: when value judgments operate to drive inquiry to a predetermined conclusion. A case study of feminist research on divorce reveals numerous legitimate ways that values can guide science without violating this standard.

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Attfield, Robin, Robin Attfield, Attfield, Kate. Principles of Equality: Managing Equality and Diversity in a Steiner School
2019, Sustainable Management Practices, ed. Muddassar Sarfraz, Muhammad Ibrahim Adbullah, Abdul Rauf, Syed Ghulam Meran Shah, London: IntechOpen
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Robin Attfield, Kate Attfield

Abstract: Principles of equality are examined in the context of managing equality and diversity in practice. Our case study is the Cardiff Steiner School, an independent international school located in Wales, UK with educational values guided by the philosophers and educationalists Rudolf Steiner and Millicent Mackenzie. The sustainable management referred to and assessed in this chapter is the school’s management structure and the related School pedagogical operation, with the founding Steiner value of human justice informing these. We argue that at the School the management of equality and diversity reflects theories of Diversity and Equality Management, with School managers aspiring to encourage respect for all. We appraise the philosophical and spiritual values of the founders in relation to equality and diversity, in order to demonstrate the visionary ideals of these philosophers and the extent to which their beliefs live on sustainable in contemporary society, and particularly in a Steiner education community.

Comment: The principle of equality of consideration underpins managerial and pedagogical practices at the Cardiff Steiner School. We argue that respecting the principle of equality of consideration (see Singer 1983) is a prerequisite of respecting diversity, and issues in precisely this in an educational context. We present alternative models of equality (related to different principles of equality), applying these to an inclusive educational system, and find them deficient when it comes to the respecting of diversity. The various dimensions of diversity considered are culture, gender status, sexual orientation, socio-economic position, appearance and ethnicity.

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Basso, Alessandra, Lisciandra, Chiara, Marchionni, Caterina. Hypothetical models in social science: their features and uses
2017, Springer Handbook of Model-Based Science. Magnani, L. & Bertolotti, T. (eds.). Springer, 413-433
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Abstract: The chapter addresses the philosophical issues raised by the use of hypothetical modeling in the social sciences. Hypothetical modeling involves the construction and analysis of simple hypothetical systems to represent complex social phenomena for the purpose of understanding those social phenomena.

To highlight its main features hypothetical modeling is compared both to laboratory experimentation and to computer simulation. In analogy with laboratory experiments, hypothetical models can be conceived of as scientific representations that attempt to isolate, theoretically, the working of causal mechanisms or capacities from disturbing factors. However, unlike experiments, hypothetical models need to deal with the epistemic uncertainty due to the inevitable presence of unrealistic assumptions introduced for purposes of analytical tractability. Computer simulations have been claimed to be able to overcome some of the strictures of analytical tractability. Still they differ from hypothetical models in how they derive conclusions and in the kind of understanding they provide.

The inevitable presence of unrealistic assumptions makes the legitimacy of the use of hypothetical modeling to learn about the world a particularly pressing problem in the social sciences. A review of the contemporary philosophical debate shows that there is still little agreement on what social scientific models are and what they are for. This suggests that there might not be a single answer to the question of what is the epistemic value of hypothetical models in the social sciences.

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Bicchieri, Cristina, , . The Grammar of Society: The Nature and Dynamics of Social Norms
2006, Cambridge University Press
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Jurgis Karpus

Publisher’s Note: In The Grammar of Society, first published in 2006, Cristina Bicchieri examines social norms, such as fairness, cooperation, and reciprocity, in an effort to understand their nature and dynamics, the expectations that they generate, and how they evolve and change. Drawing on several intellectual traditions and methods, including those of social psychology, experimental economics and evolutionary game theory, Bicchieri provides an integrated account of how social norms emerge, why and when we follow them, and the situations where we are most likely to focus on relevant norms. Examining the existence and survival of inefficient norms, she demonstrates how norms evolve in ways that depend upon the psychological dispositions of the individual and how such dispositions may impair social efficiency. By contrast, she also shows how certain psychological propensities may naturally lead individuals to evolve fairness norms that closely resemble those we follow in most modern societies.

Comment: Extracts from Bicchieri's book can be read in a course that covers game theory and social norms. Bicchieri's book is famous and highly praised for its contribution to our understanding of how social norms form and influence our choice behaviour in day-to-day social interactions. Christina Bicchieri has recently also co-authored a revised version of the entry 'social norms' in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP).

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Bortolotti, Lisa, , Daniela Cutas. Reproductive and Parental Autonomy: An Argument for Compulsory Education
2009, Reproductive Biomedicine Online, 19 (Ethics Supplement): 5-14.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Abstract: In this paper we argue that society should make available reliable information about parenting to everybody from an early age. The reason why parental education is important (when offered in a comprehensive and systematic way) is that it can help young people understand better the responsibilities associated with reproduction, and the skills required for parenting. This would allow them to make more informed life-choices about reproduction and parenting, and exercise their autonomy with respect to these choices. We do not believe that parental education would constitute a limitation of individual freedom. Rather, the acquisition of relevant information about reproduction and parenting and the acquisition of self-knowledge with respect to reproductive and parenting choices can help give shape to individual life plans. We make a case for compulsory parental education on the basis of the need to respect and enhance individual reproductive and parental autonomy within a culture that presents contradictory attitudes towards reproduction and where decisions about whether to become a parent are subject to significant pressure and scrutiny.

Comment: This text provides a clear overview of debates about reproductive autonomy and compulsory education. It also contains responses to well known criticisms of compulsory parental education. It would be best used in a course dealing with issues of parenthood and procreation, reproduction, or autonomy in a medical context.

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Bright, Liam Kofi, Daniel Malinsky, Morgan Thompson. Causally Interpreting Intersectionality Theory
2016, Philosophy of Science 83(1): 60--81
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Abstract: Social scientists report difficulties in drawing out testable predictions from the literature on intersectionality theory. We alleviate that difficulty by showing that some characteristic claims of the intersectionality literature can be interpreted causally. The formal-ism of graphical causal modeling allows claims about the causal effects of occupying intersecting identity categories to be clearly represented and submitted to empirical test-ing. After outlining this causal interpretation of intersectional theory, we address some concerns that have been expressed in the literature claiming that membership in demo-graphic categories can have causal effects.

Comment: This text contains a summary of some key concepts in intersectionality theory and a discussion of how they have been used in empirical sociological research, as well as an introduction to methods of causal statistical inference. Students needing an introduction to any of these things could therefore benefit from this text. It also contains arguments about the permissibility of using demographic categories as the basis of causal claims that may be interesting matters of dispute or discussion for students of the philosophy of race.

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Cartwright, Nancy, Montuschi, Eleonora, . Philosophy of Social Science. A New Introduction
2014, Oxford University Press, Oxford
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: This is a much-needed new introduction to a field that has been transformed in recent years by exciting new subjects, ideas, and methods. It is designed for students in both philosophy and the social sciences. Topics include ontology, objectivity, method, measurement, and causal inference, and such issues as well-being and climate change.

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Collins, Patricia Hill, , . Learning from the outsider within: The sociological significance of black feminist thought
2004, In Sandra G. Harding (ed.), The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader: Intellectual and Political Controversies. Routledge.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Corbin Covington

Abstract: Black women have long occupied marginal positions in academic settings. I argue that many Black female intellectuals have made creative use of their marginality their “outsider within ” status-to produce Black feminist thought that reflects a special standpoint on self family, and society. I describe and explore the sociological significance of three characteristic themes in such thought: (1) Black women’s self-definition and self-valuation; (2) the interlocking nature of oppression; and (3) the importance of Afro-American women’s culture. After considering how Black women might draw upon these key themes as outsiders within to generate a distinctive standpoint on existing sociological paradigms, I conclude by suggesting that other sociologists would also benefit by placing greater trust in the creative potential of their own personal and cultural biographies.

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Collins, Patricia Hill, , . Transforming the inner circle: Dorothy Smith’s challenge to sociological theory
1992, Sociological Theory 10 (1):73-80.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Corbin Covington

Abstract: “Women have been largely excluded from the work of producing the forms of thought and the images and symbols in which thought is expressed and ordered,” suggests sociologist Dorothy E. Smith. “We can imagine women’s exclusion organized by the formation of a circle among men who attend to and treat as significant only what men say.” In this male discourse, “what men were doing was relevant to men, was written by men about men for men . . . this is how a tradition is formed” (Smith 1987, p. 18). Smith’s perspective aptly describes the outer circle that delineates sociology from other equally male-centered disciplines, but it also characterizes the important inner circle of sociological theory lying at the center of the field.

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Crane, Susan A., , . Choosing Not to Look: Representation, Repatriation, and Holocaust Atrocity Photography
2008, History and Theory 47: 309-30.
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Added by: Erich Hatala Matthes, Contributed by:

Summary: In this article, Crane, a historian, questions whether Holocaust atrocity photographs should be displayed, arguing that displaying them is not the best means of historical education about the horrors of the Holocaust, as some defenders argue. Her discussion includes reflections on the nature of photography, spectacle, how we look at images, and pedagogy surrounding historical injustices.

Comment: This text offers an opportunity to discuss the display of "negative heritage," and so offers a different angle than many of the articles on heritage which focus on appropriative display of more traditionally conceived heritage objects. The article also raises issues which can inspire discussion on moral criticism of art.

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Crasnow, Sharon (ed), Intemann, Kristen, . Routledge Handbook of Feminist Philosophy of Science
2021, Routledge.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

The Routledge Handbook of Feminist Philosophy of Science is a comprehensive resource for feminist thinking about and in the sciences. Its 33 chapters were written exclusively for this Handbook by a group of leading international philosophers as well as scholars in gender studies, women’s studies, psychology, economics, and political science.

The chapters of the Handbook are organized into four main parts:

  1. Hidden Figures and Historical Critique
  2. Theoretical Frameworks
  3. Key Concepts and Issues
  4. IV. Feminist Philosophy of Science in Practice.

The chapters in this extensive, fourth part examine the relevance of feminist philosophical thought for a range of scientific and professional disciplines, including biology and biomedical sciences; psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience; the social sciences; physics; and public policy.

The Handbook gives a snapshot of the current state of feminist philosophy of science, allowing students and other newcomers to get up to speed quickly in the subfield and providing a handy reference for many different kinds of researchers.

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Darby, Derrick, , . Adequacy, Inequality, and Cash for Grades
2011, Theory and Research in Eduation 9 (3): 209-232.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Abstract: Some political philosophers have recently argued that providing K-12 students with an adequate education suffices for social justice in education provided that the threshold of educational adequacy is properly understood. Others have argued that adequacy is insufficient for social justice. In this article I side with the latter group. I extend this debate to racial inequality in education by considering the controversial practice of paying students cash for grades to close the racial achievement gap. I then argue that framing the demand for racial justice in education solely in terms of educational adequacy leaves us unable to take issue with the cash for grades policy as a matter of principle. While this does not entail that educational adequacy is unimportant, it adds to the general case for why adequacy does not suffice for social justice.

Comment: This text is a good rejoinder to Anderson and Satz's arguments concerning the shift from a focus on providing an equal education to an adequate education. Though it could be read in absence of those texts, it requires a familiarity with the idea of sufficientarianism - and so should probably be read after Anderson's "Fair Opportunity in Education: A Democratic Equality Perspective." It would have a place in a course concerning egalitarianism in education, racial justice, or education and democracy.

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Douglas, Heather, , . Values in Social Science
2014, In: Philosophy of Social Science A New Introduction. Edited by Nancy Cartwright and Eleonora Montuschi
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Introduction: The social sciences have long had an inferiority complex. Because the social sciences emerged as distinct disciplines after the natural sciences, comparisons between the mature and successful natural sciences and the fledgling social sciences were quickly made. One of the primary concerns that arose was over the role of values in the social sciences. There were several reasons for this. First, the social sciences did not have the clear empirical successes that the natural sciences did in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to bolster confidence in their reliability. Some postulated that an undue influence of values on the social sciences contributed to this deficit of empirical success. Second, social sciences such as economics and psychology emerged from their philosophical precursors gradually and often carried with them the clear normative trappings of their disciplinary origins. Third, although formal rules on the treatment of human subjects would not emerge until the second half of the twentieth century, by the time the social sciences emerged, it was obvious there were both ethical and epistemic challenges to experimenting on human subjects and human communities. Controlled settings were (and are) often difficult to achieve (or are unethical to achieve), making clear empirical success even more elusive. Finally, there is the additional com-plication that social sciences invariably study and/or comment upon human values. All of these considerations lent credence to the view that social sciences were inevitably more value-laden, and as a result less reliable, than the natural sciences.

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