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Functional Explanation And Metaphysical Individualism, Justin Schwartz Jan 1993

Functional Explanation And Metaphysical Individualism, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

A number of (present or former) analytical Marxists, such as Jon Elster, have argued that functional explanation has almost no place in the social sciences. (Although the discussion is framed in terms of a debate among analytical Marxists, the point is quite general, and Marxism is used for illustrative purposes.) Functional explanation accounts for what is to be explained by reference to its function; thus, sighted organism have eyes because eyes enable them to see. Elster and other critics of functional explanation argue that this pattern of explanation is inconsistent with "methodological individualism," the idea, as they understand it, that ...


Metatheory And Friendly Competition In Theory Growth: The Case Of Power Processes In Bargaining, Edward J. Lawler, Rebecca Ford Jan 1993

Metatheory And Friendly Competition In Theory Growth: The Case Of Power Processes In Bargaining, Edward J. Lawler, Rebecca Ford

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[Excerpt] This paper analyzes the theoretical development taking place in a program of research on power processes in bargaining (see Bacharach and Lawler 1976, 1980, 1981a, 1981b; Lawler and Bacharach 1976, 1979, 1987; Lawler, Ford, and Blegen 1988; Lawler and Yoon 1990; Lawler 1986, 1992). The theoretical program takes as its starting point a situation where individuals, groups, organizations, or even societies with conflicting interests voluntarily enter into explicit bargaining. Explicit (as opposed to tacit) bargaining assumes the mutual acknowledgment of negotiations, conflicting issues along which compromise is possible, and open lines of communication through which parties can exchange offers ...