What is Social Theory: The Philosophical Debates

Overview

In this wide-ranging collection of original essays, the intersection of philosophy and social theory is examined from a variety of viewpoints: some from the interpretative side of the discipline, and others from within the camp of formal and mathematical modeling. Leading practitioners from both of these major theoretical factions give voice to their plans for enlarging the scope of social theory, and maintaining its vitality, into the next century. They seek to help alleviate some of the crises that have ...
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Overview

In this wide-ranging collection of original essays, the intersection of philosophy and social theory is examined from a variety of viewpoints: some from the interpretative side of the discipline, and others from within the camp of formal and mathematical modeling. Leading practitioners from both of these major theoretical factions give voice to their plans for enlarging the scope of social theory, and maintaining its vitality, into the next century. They seek to help alleviate some of the crises that have recently afflicted sociology as it has struggled to accommodate postmodernism, feminism, moral philosophy, and other challenges to its classical analytic tradition.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"To invite authors of two broadly contrasting sociological camps to engage in the discussion helps to highlight a wide variety of issues in such a clear manner as to be of great value to students, not to mention a wider readership. For it not only enables the reader to understand the broadly accepted dual demarcation of interpretative and positive, but also to illuminate the more subtle differences that exist within each camp." Michael Keaney, University of Glasgow

"There is no more thorough an editor in sociology than Alan Sica for the simple reason that there are so few who are as broadly literate as he and who, at the same time, know and understand good books and good writing. The list of authors include the most astute sociologists who happen to know philosophy." Charles Lemert, Wesleyan University

"This volume would make useful reading for those interested in the philosophical underpinnings of social theory and where its continued inter-connection may take it in the future as well as, arguably, essential reading for those within the discipline who look more towards the natural sciences than the humanities for their influence." John Walliss, BSA

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Alan Sica is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Graduate Program in Social Thought at Pennsylvania State University. For five years the editor of Sociological Theory, his other books include Weber, Irrationality, and Social Order (1988) and Ideologies and Corruption of Thought (1997) and forthcoming with Blackwell Max Weber and the New Century.

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Table of Contents

List of Contributors
Introduction: Philosophy's Tutelage of Social Theory: "A Parody of Profundity"? 1
1 Mapping Postmodern Social Theory 22
2 A Thesaurus of Experience: Maurice Natanson, Phenomenology, and Social Theory 76
3 From Content to Context: A Social Epistemology of the Structure-Agency Craze 92
4 Making Normative Soup with Non-normative Bones 118
5 Criteria for a Theory of Knowledge 145
6 Examples, Submerged Statements, and the Neglected Application of Philosophy to Social Theory 177
7 Loosening the Chains of Philosophical Reductionism 192
8 Social Order and Emergent Rationality 219
9 Theoretical Models: Sociology's Missing Links 238
10 Sociological Models 253
11 Culture and Social Structure 265
Name Index 276
Subject Index 282
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