Philosophy of the Social Sciences 1

Module description

To introduce you to different approaches and styles of research in social sciences; to familiarise you with the philosophical implications of these approaches; and to equip you with the capacity to apply these methods in their own research.

Full module specification

Module title:Philosophy of the Social Sciences 1
Module code:SOCM002A
Module level:M
Academic year:2016/7
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Nigel Pleasants - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:

7.5

Pre-requisites:

None

Co-requisites:

None

Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:

11

Module aims

To introduce students to different approaches and styles of research in social sciences; to familiarise students with the philosophical implications of these approaches; and to equip students with the capacity to apply these methods in their own research.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate knowledge of philosophical implications of research in the social sciences.
  • 2. Show awareness and comprehension of the diversity of techniques employed in the generation of knowledge and understanding in the social sciences.
  • 3. Show awareness and comprehension of the diversity of evidence used in social research.
  • 4. Evaluate the issues involved in application of research design in the context of the social sciences.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Recognise and debate the contested and provisional nature of knowledge and understanding
  • 6. Identify and evaluate approaches to problem-solving
  • 7. Synthesize information and recognize relevance. Evaluate the reliability and accuracy of secondary data.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. Undertake independent/self-directed learning (including time management) to achieve consistent, proficient and sustained attainment
  • 9. Work as a participant or leader of a group and contribute effectively to the achievement of objectives.
  • 10. Reflect on the process of learning and evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses. Apply ideas to new situations.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
221280

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activites2211 x 2 hour seminars
Guided independent study128Independent study

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
100

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
EITHER Essay1004,500 words1-10Written feedback
OR 2 EssaysEach of 2,250 words1-10Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EITHER 1 EssayEITHER Essay (4,500 words)1-10Next reassessment period
OR 2 EssaysOR 2 Essays (2,250 words each)1-10Next reassessment period

Syllabus plan

Introduction: what is philosophy of social science?
Social and institutional ontology: the nature and conditions
of the social and cultural world
Holism and individualism: the nature of collective action and
collective responsibility
Structure and agency: social determinism and individual agency
Realism and social constructionism: the debate over reality
and social construction (race, class, gender, sexuality,
scientific knowledge)
The Idea of a social science: the Wittgensteinian critique and
its critics
Social science, ethics and the fact-value distinction

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

I. Hacking, The Social Construction of What?, Harvard University Press, 1999.
M Hollis The philosophy of social science: an introduction, Cambridge University Press, 1994.
J Searle, The Construction of Social Reality Penguin, 1995.
P Winch, The Idea of a Social Science and its Relation to Philosophy, Routledge, 1990

Module has an active ELE page?

Yes

Origin date

01/10/2008

Last revision date

14/08/2012