Ontology, Methodological Individualism, and the Foundations of the Social Sciences
- (pp. 1377-89)
AbstractThis is a review essay based on a critical assessment of The Ant Trap: Rebuilding the Foundations of the Social Sciences by Brian Epstein. Epstein argues that models in the social sciences are inadequate because they are based on a false ontology of methodological individualism, and proposes a new model of social ontology. I examine this model and point to flaws in it. More generally, I argue against Epstein's methodological approach, which treats social ontology as prior to social scientific modeling and as certifying the "building blocks" that modelers then use. I argue that modelers can legitimately shape the building blocks for their own models.
CitationSugden, Robert. 2016. "Ontology, Methodological Individualism, and the Foundations of the Social Sciences." Journal of Economic Literature, 54 (4): 1377-89. DOI: 10.1257/jel.20151372
- A10 General Economics: General
- B40 Economic Methodology: General