LECTURE 5: LAWS IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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LECTURE 5: LAWS IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES?
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LECTURE 5: LAWS IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES?

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  1. All my course outlines and PowerPoint slides can be downloaded from: http://www.freewebs.com/mphk2/ Friday, November 16th:NO LECTURE Friday, November 23rd: 3-4pm: Lecture 7: Practice Coffee, tea and biscuits!!! 4-5pm: Lecture 8: Values and Critical Theory

  2. LECTURE 5: LAWS IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES?

  3. §1. Introduction: Hempel on Explanation and Prediction in History (Hempel (1942/1994) L1, L2, … Ln C1, C2, … Cn ----------------- E } Explanans Explanandum

  4. Why don’t explanations in history have this form: • The laws are sometimes trivial. • The laws are sometimes too complicated to state. • Note: • The laws often come from other fields. • Often we get only explanation sketches.

  5. §2. Laws and Complexity (Hayek 1967/1994; Scriven 1956/1994; McIntyre 1993/1994) • The social world is intrinsically too complex for laws. – Hayek • The level of description of the social world that interests us is too complex for laws. – Scriven • Why can’t we change the language and analysis • even at the level we are interested in? – McIntyre

  6. §4. Reconstruction of Davidson’s “Psychology as Philosophy” (1974) Often presented as an argument against the possibility of laws in the social sciences …

  7. [1] Main thesis: There can be no (strict causal) laws in (intentional) psychology.

  8. Mind-Body Identity Thesis Mental tokens = = = = = = = = = Physical Tokens are spatio-temporal particulars.

  9. Type materialism: A= 1; B = 2 … Mental type A Mental type B Mental tokens = = = = = = = = = Physical Physical type 1 Physical type 2

  10. Token materialism: A≠ 1; B ≠ 2 … Mental type A Mental type B Mental tokens = = = = = = = = = Physical Physical type 1 Physical type 2

  11. [7]Strict causal lawsexist only in closed and deterministic systems. There are physical strict causal laws, since the physical realm is closed.* *At least for materialists – this argument is based upon materialist premises.

  12. [8] Does that mean that there are no (strict causal) laws covering intentional psychology? After all, the psychological realm is not closed.

  13. [9] But does not materialism allow for a different answer? If psychological entities are (identical with) physical entities then they are part of a closed system. Like this …

  14. Psychological law: Psych. event type Acauses psych. event type B. Psychophysical laws: A=CB=D Physical law: Brain event type Ccauses brain event type D.

  15. [10] Bel[q]Bel[r]Bel[s] | | Bel[p] | ?? | Bst[p] | | Bst[q]Bst[r]Bst[s] Rationality as “constitu-tive idea” … consistency, coherence … Holism “No echo”

  16. Problem: the intentional states are related by normative relations (of consistency, coherence, rationality) and these normative relations have “no echo” in the physical realm.

  17. Kincaid: • Davidson gives us no good reasons against laws: • “… much social science proceeds at the macro-level ... As such, it is unaffected by the failure of specific theories of individual behavior. ...” (115)

  18. LECTURE 6: ACTION EXPLANATIONS, REASONS, AND CAUSES Davidson: “Actions, Reasons, and Causes”, 1963

  19. §0.Introduction Claim: The social and the natural sciences differ fundamentally in their modes of explanation: Natural sciences: causal explanations Social sciences: non-causal explanations in terms of reasons. Is that true?

  20. §1. Preliminary I: Intensional vs. Extensional Contexts

  21. A sentence S is an extensional context iff: • Intersubstitutivity salve veritate: Co-referring expressions can be substituted for one another • in S without that S’s truth value changes.

  22. A sentence S is an extensional context iff: • Intersubstitutivity salve veritate: Co-referring expressions can be substituted for one another • in S without that S’s truth value changes. • Co-referring expressions: “Martin Kusch” and • “Sarah Gore’s husband”

  23. A sentence S is an extensional context iff: • Intersubstitutivity salve veritate: Co-referring expressions can be substituted for one another • in S without that S’s truth value changes. • Co-referring expressions: “Martin Kusch” and • “Sarah Gore’s husband” • If • “Martin Kusch lives on Alpha Road” • is true, then so is • “Sarah Gore’s husband lives on Alpha Road”.

  24. A sentence S is an extensional context iff: • Existential generalisation: S entails the existence • of the entities to which its expressions refer. • If “Martin Kusch lives on Alpha Road” • is true, then Martin Kusch exists.

  25. A sentence S is an intensional context if, and only if, • both (a) and (b) fail. • “Mary believes that Martin Kusch lives on Alpha Road” • does not entail that • “Mary believes that Sarah Gore’s husband lives on Alpha Road”.

  26. A sentence S is an intensional context if, and only if, • both (a) and (b) fail. • “Mary believes that Martin Kusch lives on Alpha Road” • does not entail that • “Mary believes that Sarah Gore’s husband lives on Alpha Road”. • (b) Nor does it entail that Martin Kusch exists. • (Mary might be wrong to believe that I’m alive.)

  27. “Intentional” ≠ “intensional”!

  28. §2.Preliminary II: Action Descriptions, Justification and Intensionality

  29. Whether an action is justifiable depends on how • it is described. • Take my action of opening the window. • We can re-describe this action as the action of letting in fresh air. • This seems to provide a justification of the action • (of opening the window).

  30. But we can also re-describe the same action as • the action of giving the audience a cold. • Under this description the action (of opening • the window) is not justifiable. • Thus, we cannot substitute one action • description for another without changing • the value of the action.

  31. §3.Preliminary III: Davidson on Causation

  32. Causal relations are part of the world; causal relations hold between particular events;

  33. Causal relations are part of the world; causal relations hold between particular events; Causal explanationsare part of language; causal explanations hold between statements or descriptions of events and laws.

  34. Singular causal statements vs. causal explanations In singular causal statements the expression “caused” relates not sentences but particular events. “The short circuit caused the fire.” Event1 Event2

  35. Singular causal statements are extensional contexts: If the fire was mentioned at 8am on the Today Programme on 19/10/07, we can replace The short-circuit caused the fire by The short-circuit caused the event mentioned at 8am on the Today Programme 19/10/07 – without changing the truth-value.

  36. Cf. a causal explanation of the fire. According to the standard deductive-nomological account, we explain an event by deducing it from laws of nature and statements describing various circumstances before and during the event. L1 …. Ln C1 … Cn Explanans ------------------ Explanandum

  37. Deduction takes us from sentences to sentences.

  38. Deduction takes us from sentences to sentences. • Whether or not a deduction (within a causal explanation) is possible, depends crucially on how we describe the cause and the effect.

  39. Deduction takes us from sentences to sentences. • Whether or not a deduction (within a causal explanation) is possible, depends crucially on how we describe the cause and the effect. • While there are natural laws from which we can deduce “The short-circuit caused the fire”, …

  40. Deduction takes us from sentences to sentences. • Whether or not a deduction (within a causal explanation) is possible, depends crucially on how we describe the cause and the effect. • While there are natural laws from which we can deduce “The short-circuit caused the fire”, … • … there are no natural laws from which we • can deduce “The short-circuit caused the event mentioned at 8:15am on the Today Programme on 19/10/07”.

  41. Causal explanation is intensional.

  42. §4. Preliminary IV: Rationalisations of Actions

  43. Consider the action described as: • “Mary came to the lecture”. • Why did she? • E.g. (*) • “… because it is on Davidson.” • (*) provides a reason for Mary’s action; • it is a rationalisation of her action.

  44. (*) refers to a “pro-attitude” (desire, wish ...) and to a belief (Davidson): • Pro-attitude: Mary desires to learn about Davidson today. • Belief: Mary believes that if she comes to today’s • lecture, she will be able to learn about Davidson.

  45. How do we know that, although Mary had the • mentioned reason, she didn’t act on another one? • She might have any number of reasons. • Which one moved her? • According to the received view, the difference • between having and acting on a reason is • causal.

  46. §5. The Anti-Causalists Anscombe, Winch, Melden, Dray, von Wright … The difference cannot be causal! Reasons cannot be causes!

  47. [1] On a Humean view of causation, two events relate as cause and effect if, and only if, they instantiate a law of nature. But we do not have laws of nature covering the relationship between reasons and actions.

  48. [2] On a Humean view of causation, causal relations are strictly different from logical orconceptual ideas. But in a rationalisation the relationship between the reason and the explained action is conceptual and logical (or “internal”). Cf.: The “Logical Connection Argument” (here is von Wright’s version):

  49. Agent X intends to bring about [state of affairs] p.

  50. Agent X intends to bring about [state of affairs] p. X considers that he cannot bring about p unless he does action a.