Understanding and Prediction: Essays in the Methodology of Social and Behavioural Theories / Edition 1

Understanding and Prediction: Essays in the Methodology of Social and Behavioural Theories / Edition 1

by S. Nowak

ISBN-10: 9027705585

ISBN-13: 9789027705587

Pub. Date: 08/31/1976

Publisher: Springer Netherlands

One of the more characteristic features of contemporary sociology is an increasing interest in theories. More and more theories are being developed in various areas of social investigation; we observe also an increasing number of verificational studies aimed primarily toward the verification of various theories. The essays presented in this volume deal with


One of the more characteristic features of contemporary sociology is an increasing interest in theories. More and more theories are being developed in various areas of social investigation; we observe also an increasing number of verificational studies aimed primarily toward the verification of various theories. The essays presented in this volume deal with theories too, but they approach this problem from a methodological perspective. There­ fore it seems worthwhile in the preface to this volume to make a kind of general declaration about the author's aims and his approach to the subject of his interest, and about his view of the role of methodological reflection in the development of sciences. First let me say what methodology cannot do. It cannot be a substitute for the formulation of substantive theories, nor can it substitute for the empirical studies which confirm or reject such theories. Therefore its impact upon the development of any science, including the social sciences, is only indirect, by its undertaking the analysis of research tools and rules of scientific procedures. It can also propose certain standards for scientific procedures, but the application of these standards is the domain of substan­ tive researchers, and it is the substantive researchers who ultimately develop any science. Nevertheless the potential impact-of methodological reflection, even if only indirect, should not be underestimated.

Product Details

Springer Netherlands
Publication date:
Synthese Library Series, #94
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.04(d)

Table of Contents

I / Concepts and Indicators in Humanistic Sociology.- 1. The Problem of ‘Verstehen’.- 2. Observable and Hypothetical Properties in Sociological Concepts.- 3. Concepts Defined with Humanistic Coefficient in the Language of Sociology.- 4. Understanding Constructs in Defining the Dependent and Independent Variables of Social Theories.- 5. The Validity of Introspectionist ‘Self-Evidence’.- 6. Motives of Goal-Oriented Behaviors.- 7. Human Rationality as Explanatory Principle.- 8. Defining and Assessment — Two Operations Called Verstehen.- 9. Types of Indicators of Meaningful Sociological Variables.- 10. Behavioral Indicators and ‘Surplus Meanings’ in Behavioral Theories.- 11. The Validity of Indicators in Empirical Social Studies.- Notes 69 Bibliography.- II / Verbal Communications As Indicators of Sociological Variables.- 1. The Structure of the ‘Communication Chain’.- 2. Two Categories of Factors Distorting the Communicative Relation.- 3. Verbal Behaviors and their Behavioral Correlates as ‘Legitimate’ Objects of Social Studies.- 4. Inferences Based on Assumption of Correspondence at the Expressive Level.- 5. Expressive and Other Instrumental Functions of Verbal Behavior.- 6. Problems of the Validity of Subjectively Sincere Communications.- 7. Inferences from and of Distortions of the Cognitive Relation.- Notes.- III / Meaning and Measurement in Comparative Studies.- 1. Conceptual and Operational Aspects of Phenomenal and Relational Comparability.- 2. Types of Relational Equivalences.- 3. Declared vs. Reconstructed Meaning of Attitudes.- 4. Ideological Connotation of Attitude Toward ‘Socialism’ Among Warsaw Students — A Case Study of ‘Measurement of Meaning’ of Political Attitudes.- 5. ‘Marxism’ and ‘Socialism’ — Two Variables with Similar Meaning and Different Intensity.- Notes.- IV / Comparative Social Research and Methodological Problems of Sociological Induction.- 1. Different Aspects of Generality of Theoretical Social Propositions.- 2. Conditional Causal Relations and Their Observable Consequences.- 3. Historical and Universal Concepts and Hypotheses in Comparative Social Research.- 4. The Strategy of Inductive Comparative Studies.- 5. The Role of Reductive Systematization of Theories in Formulation and Indirect Confirmation of Hypotheses.- 6. Historical Dimension of Social Phenomena and the Problems of Sociological Induction.- 7. The Problem of Spuriousness and the Role of Genetic Explanations in Social Theory.- 8. Comparative Induction and the Problem of One-Case Macro-Theories.- Notes.- V / Causal Interpretation of Statistical Relationships in Social Research.- 1. The Problem of Causality.- 2. Typology of Causal Relations.- 3. Statistical Laws and Historical Generalizations.- 4. Statistical Relationships in Unconditional and Conditional Causal Patterns.- 5. Statistical Relationships in Multistage Causal Chains.- 6. Relative Frequencies and Random Probabilistic Relations.- 7. Causality, Correlation and Spurious Independence.- 8. Spurious Correlations.- 9. The Test Variable as a Supplementary Factor and as an Alternative Cause.- 10. Some other Functions of the Test Variable.- 11. A Typology of Three-Variable Analyses.- 12. Additivity and Interaction between the Quantitative Variables.- Notes.- VI / Inductive Inconsistencies and The Problems of Probabilistic Predictions.- 1. ‘Inconsistencies’ Generated by Statistical Syllogism.- 2. ‘Contradictions’ Generated by General Conditional Laws of Science.- 3. Probability and Randomness.- 4. The Unconditional and Conditional Probabilistic Relations.- 5. Two Kinds of Conditionality of Probabilistic Relations.- 6. Patterns of Probabilistic Predictions and the Problem of Inductive Inconsistencies.- 7. Mr. Petersen Revisited.- 8. Deriving the Probabilities for Intersections of Additive and Interacting Causal Collectives.- Notes.- VII / Logical and Empirical Assumptions of Validity of Inductions.- 1. The Role and Nature of Empirical Presuppositions in Inductive Reasoning.- 2. The Assumption of Complete Uniformity within a Class of Objects or Events.- 3. The Assumption of Randomness in Statistical Induction.- 4. The Assumption of Randomness in Enumerative Induction.- 5. The Possibility of Estimating the Degree of Unconditionally of General Causal Hypotheses.- 6. Conclusions.- Notes.- VIII / Empirical Knowledge and Social Values in The Cumulative Development of Sociology.- 1. Symptoms of Crisis in Sociology.- 2. Cumulative Character of Empirically Tested Propositions and Theories.- 3. Empirical and Normative Components in the Divergent Interpretations of Findings.- 4. Normative and Empirical Assumptions of Particular ‘Approaches’.- 5. Instrumental Functions of Sociology.- 6. Ideological Functions of Sociology.- Notes.- IX / Cultural Norms As Explanatory Constructs in Theories of Social Behavior.- 1. Two Types of Sociological Explanations and Predictions.- 2. Cultural Norms as Matrices of Human Behaviors.- 3. Methodological Features of the Laws of Isomorphism.- 4. Different Meanings of the Term ‘Cultural Norm’.- 5. Norm in the Coercive Sense.- 6. Norm in the Motivational Sense.- 7. Norm in the Behavioral Sense.- 8. Norm in the Complex Sense and Patterns of Normative Integration.- 9. Matrix Laws and Macrosociological Theory.- Notes.- X / Role and Limits of The ‘Functional Approach’ In Formulation of Theories of Attitudes.- 1. Internal and External Functionality of Attitudes.- 2. Theory or a Heuristic Directive.- 3. The Danger of Teleologism.- 4. Different Patterns of Conscious and Unconscious Instrumentality.- 5. The Principle of Functionality and the Problems of Prediction.- 6. Spontaneously Formed and Culturally Imposed Attitudes.- Notes.- XI / The Logic of Reductive Systematizations of Social and Behavioral Theories.- 1. The ‘Problem of Reduction’ in Social Sciences.- 2. Two Basic Patterns of Reduction.- 3. The Reduction of Laws to More General Laws.- 4. Reductions and Pseudo-Reductions.- 5. Problems of incomplete Reductions.- 6. Explaining a Law by a Number of Additive Laws.- 7. Reduction of Statistical Laws.- 8. ‘Objective Existence’ of Collectivities and the Definitional Dependence of their Characteristics upon the Characteristics of their Members.- 9. General Pattern of Inter-Level Reductions and the Character of Correspondence Rules in Reductive Social Theories.- 10. The Problem of ‘Emergence’.- 11. Laws of Behavior and Laws of Social Interaction in Reductive Social Theories.- 12. Statistical Relationships in Multi-Level Reductions.- 13. Some Special Problems of ‘Emergence’ in Sociology.- 14. Postulates of Reductionism and the Relations between Sociology and Psychology.- Notes.- XII / Values and Knowledge in The Theory of Education: A Paradigm for an Applied Social Science.- 1. Theory or Theories of Education.- 2. Problem of Systematization of Theoretical Knowledge in the Science of Education.- 3. Construction of Models of Educational Situations for Explanation and Prediction.- 4. Certain Characteristics of Practical Sciences.- 5. Problems Connected with the Choice of Goals of Educational Processes.- 6. Ordering of the Goals of Educational Programs Understood as Systems of Values.- 7. Evaluation of the Distance between Educational Goals and Starting Point.- 8. Theoretical Evaluation of Attainability of Intended Educational Goals.- 9. The Manipulable Variables of the Educational Situation.- 10. Educational Institutions and the Wider Educational Environment.- Notes.- Index of Names.

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