PHIL 370: Philosophy of Social Science.

Earlham College, Spring Semester 2002-2003
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:00-10:50. Carpenter 315
Instructor: Ferit Güven
Office: Carpenter 328
Office Hours: Monday, Thursday 1:00-2:00, and by appointment
Office Phone: 983-1399 (voice mail)
e-mail: guvenfe@earlham.edu
web page: http://www.earlham.edu/~guvenfe/

Course Description: This course will introduce you to selected topics in the philosophy of social science. The aim of the course is to understand the philosophical foundations of the social sciences, rather than to condemn or attempt to justify them. After a general overview of the field, we will concentrate on the question of the relationship between philosophy and the scientific worldview that emerges in modernity. We will see how scientific discourse is constituted and what its strengths and shortcomings are. The specific philosophical question this course will focus on concerns the relationship between the idea of self that emerges in modernity along with the scientific worldview, on the one hand, and social structures in general, on the other. The social sciences that emerged in modernity have the fundamental philosophical challenge of negotiating the relationship between the subject-based worldview and the structures of society. The modernist conviction that a society is either a collection of independent and free individual subjects, or itself behaves like a general subject with a will and intentions, has been significantly discredited in the 20th Century. In light of these philosophical developments, the social sciences have rethought their methodology and attempted to modify the idea of social structures such that they are not simply opposed to the individualistic perspective, but rather create the very possibility of understanding human beings as individual subjects in the first place. Our course will investigate this tension between the subject and the social structure in depth.

Required Texts: (available in the Earlham College bookstore)
Ted Benton, Ian Craib, Philosophy of Social Science: The Philosophical Foundations of Social Thought, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001)
Karl Marx, The Portable Marx, (New York: Penguin Books, 1983)
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things, (New York: Vintage Books, 1994)
Jürgen Habermas, Toward a Rational Society, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971)
Pierre Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice, (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992).

 


In addition to these texts, the following material will be on reserve at the Lilly Library:
Joan Scott, "The Evidence of Experience" from Feminist Approaches to Theory and Methodology, eds. S. Hesse-Biber, C. Gilmartin, R. Lydenberg, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 79-99.
Patricia Hill Collins, "Learning from the Outsider Within: The Sociological Significance of Black Feminist Thought" from Feminist Approaches to Theory and Methodology, eds. S. Hesse-Biber, C. Gilmartin, R. Lydenberg, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 155-178.
Chandra Talpade Mohanty, "Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses" from Contemporary Postcolonial Theory, (London: Arnold, 1996), 172-197.
Michael Omi and Howard Winant, "Racial Formation in the United States" from The Idea of Race, eds. R. Bernasconi, T.L. Lott, (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2000), 181-212.

Course Requirement and Evaluation:
You are expected to write one short paper (5-6 page) and two long papers (8-10 page). I will provide paper topics for each assignment. You are also allowed to decide on your own topic provided that you discuss your topic with me at least a week before the deadline. Along with the paper topics I will also provide specific guidelines for each topic. Besides this, for every paper (including papers on topics of your own choice) you are responsible for following the general guidelines provided. (See "Comments and Suggestions for Papers").

For each week, one student will prepare a two paged (single-spaced) protocol of the material discussed during the previous week. A protocol is a carefully edited summary of the previous class sessions written in full sentences.  Protocols will be photocopied by the student who wrote it and handed out to all students at the beginning of each Monday to be read aloud, and will serve as a cumulative record of the course. The student who prepares the protocol will be required to come to class a couple of minutes early, so that the protocols will have been distributed at the beginning of the class (i.e., at 10:00). In addition to reviewing the material covered in the previous class, the protocol should include announcements made in class, questions raised, and, if possible, future questions for the material to come. The best protocols will be those that do not simply reproduce word for word everything that was said during class, but those that rearrange the material thematically, editing out what was unimportant, and emphasizing what was significant. The point of this is to allow you to think during class, and not just take notes; because someone will be taking notes for you, you can concentrate on the ideas being presented, and participate without having to write constantly. Also you will have a summary of every class which will help you with writing papers.

Your grade will be calculated according to the following distribution:
Paper I: 20%,
Paper II: 30%,
Paper III: 30%,
Protocol: 10%,
Class Participation and Attendance: 10%.

Class participation and attendance:
This course will be conducted in a seminar format.  Therefore, attandance and participation are important dimensions of the course and your grade.  I expect you to come to class prepared and ready to participate, i.e., having read the text carefully, and ready to raise and answer questions.
Office hours are for students to discuss ideas, assignments and questions. You are encouraged and welcome to come by my office or make appointments for times other than scheduled office hours. You should take advantage of office hours and appointments not simply to discuss your papers (you are obviously welcome to do that too) but also to understand ideas, and texts discussed in class.

Any student with a documented disability (e.g., physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing etc.) who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact the instructor and Disability Services Office (Academic Support Services) at the beginning of the semester. Accommodation arrangements must be made during the first-two weeks of the semester.

Calendar:
There may be some modifications to this calendar. It is your responsibility to be aware of these changes. These changes will be announced in class. If you miss a class you should make sure that you are informed about the assignments for the next session.

Week 1:
August 25: Introduction
August 27: Benton, Craib, Philosophy of Social Science, 1-12

Week 2:
August 30: Benton, Craib, Philosophy of Social Science, 12-49
September 1: Benton, Craib, Philosophy of Social Science, 49-74
September 3: Benton, Craib, Philosophy of Social Science, 75-106

Week 3:
September 6: Benton, Craib, Philosophy of Social Science, 107-139
September 8: Benton, Craib, Philosophy of Social Science, 140-178
September 10: Benton, Craib, Philosophy of Social Science, Review and Critique.

Week 4:
September 13: Marx, "Alienated Labor" The Portable Marx, 131-146
September 15: Marx, "Private Property and Communism, The Portable Marx, 146-155
September 17: Marx, Selections from The German Ideology, The Portable Marx, 162-195

Week 5:
September 20: Marx, Selections from "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis the Bonaparte," The Portable Marx, 287-323
September 22: Marx, Selections from Capital, The Portable Marx, 432-465
September 24: Marx, Selections from Capital, The Portable Marx, 465-503

See the revised calender

Week 6:
September 27: Habermas, Toward a Rational Society, 50-61.
September 29: Habermas, Toward a Rational Society, 62-80.
October 1: Habermas, Toward a Rational Society, 62-80.

Week 7:
October 4: Habermas, Toward a Rational Society, 81-122.
October 6: Habermas, Toward a Rational Society, 81-122.
October 8: Midsemester Break

Week 8:
October 11: Foucault, The Order of Things, Part I: Chapters 1-2
October 13: Foucault, The Order of Things, Part I: Chapters 1-2
October 15: Foucault, The Order of Things, Part I: Chapters 3-4

Week 9:
October 18: Foucault, The Order of Things, Part I: Chapters 3-4-5-6
October 20: Foucault, The Order of Things, Part I: Chapters 5-6
October 22: Foucault, The Order of Things, Part II: Chapters 7-8

Week 10:
October 25: Foucault, The Order of Things, Part II: Chapters 7-8
October 27: Foucault, The Order of Things, Part II: Chapters 9-10
October 29: Foucault, The Order of Things, Part II: Chapters 9-10

Week 11:
November 1: Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice, 1-79.
November 3: Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice, 1-79.
November 5: Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice, 1-79.

Week 12:
November 8: Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice, 80-141.
November 10: Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice, 80-141.
November 12: Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice, 80-141.

Week 13:
November 15: Scott, "The Evidence of Experience"
November 17: Scott, "The Evidence of Experience"; Collins, "Learning from the Outsider Within: The Sociological Significance of Black Feminist Thought"
November 19: Collins, "Learning from the Outsider Within: The Sociological Significance of Black Feminist Thought"

November 22 -November 26: Thanksgiving Break

Week 14:
November 29: Mohanty, "Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses"
December 1: Mohanty, "Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses"; Omi and Winant, "Racial Formation in the United States"
December 3: Omi and Winant, "Racial Formation in the United States"

Week 15:
December 6: Review and Evaluations
December 8: Review and Evaluations

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