Philosophical foundations of analytical sociology

Stream leader: Petri Ylikoski

The research on this topic area applies ideas on modelling, explanation and evidence to the current debate on the aims and methods of sociology. This debate is driven by the so-called "analytical sociology" movement, which emphasises the importance of mechanism-based explanations, middle-range theories and interdisciplinarity. Analytical sociology is also introducing new methodological ideas into mainstream sociology, including the use of experiments and agent-based computational modelling. These developments have parallels in economics, political science and other social sciences, and therefore open up possibilities for interesting comparisons between these disciplines.

The aim of this strand of the CoE is: to study how the new methods are introduced in and adapted to sociological research; to examine the difficulties involved in the integration of the results of the cognitive sciences in the context of sociological theory; and to analyse the conceptual foundations of analytical sociology, focusing on concepts (such as social mechanisms and middle-range theory) and issues (such as methodological individualism and intentional fundamentalism).