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Do mechanism-based social explanations make a case for methodological individualism?

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Abstract
In the recent philosophy of social science literature, we notice an increasing support for mechanism-based social explanations. Earlier pleas for social mechanisms were often closely linked to defenses of methodological individualism. However, more recent contributions seem to be loosening that link and develop a more sophisticated account – ascribing a less important role to micro-foundations. In this paper, we want to review the impact of the social mechanisms-approach on methodological individualism and draw more radical conclusions with regard to the individualism/holism debate, severing the link between the social mechanisms-approach and individualism. Four steps will be taken: (a) there are more than two levels of social explanation; (b) levels of explanation are perspectival, thus neither absolute, nor unique; (c) seeking for microfoundations ánd macrofoundations as good heuristics; (d) there are no general preference rules with respect to the level of social explanations.
Keywords
micro-macro in social science, micro-foundations, social mechanisms

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Chicago
Van Bouwel, Jeroen. 2015. “Do Mechanism-based Social Explanations Make a Case for Methodological Individualism?” In Biennial Conference of the European Philosohy of Science Association, Proceedings.
APA
Van Bouwel, J. (2015). Do mechanism-based social explanations make a case for methodological individualism? Biennial Conference of the European Philosohy of Science Association, Proceedings. Presented at the Biennial Conference of the European Philosohy of Science Association (EPSA 2015).
Vancouver
1.
Van Bouwel J. Do mechanism-based social explanations make a case for methodological individualism? Biennial Conference of the European Philosohy of Science Association, Proceedings. 2015.
MLA
Van Bouwel, Jeroen. “Do Mechanism-based Social Explanations Make a Case for Methodological Individualism?” Biennial Conference of the European Philosohy of Science Association, Proceedings. 2015. Print.
@inproceedings{5956089,
  abstract     = {In the recent philosophy of social science literature, we notice an increasing support for mechanism-based social explanations. Earlier pleas for social mechanisms were often closely linked to defenses of methodological individualism. However, more recent contributions seem to be loosening that link and develop a more sophisticated account -- ascribing a less important role to micro-foundations. In this paper, we want to review the impact of the social mechanisms-approach on methodological individualism and draw more radical conclusions with regard to the individualism/holism debate, severing the link between the social mechanisms-approach and individualism. Four steps will be taken: (a) there are more
than two levels of social explanation; (b) levels of explanation are perspectival, thus neither absolute, nor unique; (c) seeking for microfoundations {\'a}nd macrofoundations as good heuristics; (d) there are no general preference rules with respect to the level of social explanations.},
  author       = {Van Bouwel, Jeroen},
  booktitle    = {Biennial Conference of the European Philosohy of Science Association, Proceedings},
  keyword      = {micro-macro in social science,micro-foundations,social mechanisms},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Dusseldorf},
  title        = {Do mechanism-based social explanations make a case for methodological individualism?},
  year         = {2015},
}