1. bookVolume 10 (2018): Issue 50 (December 2018)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2182-2875
First Published
16 Apr 2017
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4 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

The Structures of Social Structural Explanation: Comments on Haslanger’s What is (Social) Structural Explanation?

Published Online: 20 Jun 2019
Volume & Issue: Volume 10 (2018) - Issue 50 (December 2018)
Page range: 173 - 199
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2182-2875
First Published
16 Apr 2017
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

In a recent paper (Haslanger 2016), Sally Haslanger argues for the importance of structural explanation. Roughly, a structural explana- tion of the behaviour of a given object appeals to features of the struc- tures—physical, social, or otherwise—the object is embedded in. It is opposed to individualistic explanations, where what is appealed to is just the object and its properties. For example, an individualistic explanation of why someone got the grade they did might appeal to features of the essay they wrote—its being well-written, answering the set question, etc. But if the class is graded on a curve, then a better explanation will appeal to features of the class—of the social structure in which the student is embedded. That she wrote a better paper than 90% of the class explains better than that she wrote a well-argued paper. In this paper, I get clear as to various candidate concepts of structure that we might appeal to in structural explanations, argue that Haslanger’s preferred account is lacking, and present an alterna- tive that is more conducive to social structural explanation.

Keywords

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