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The relation between social and individualistic phenomena: Reduction, determination or supervenience.

Brown, Helen Angela (1991) The relation between social and individualistic phenomena: Reduction, determination or supervenience. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

This thesis aims to analyse in detail the metaphysical relation between social and individualistic phenomena. Social phenomena are taken to include social entities such as institutions or social groups, the social properties of these social entities and also the social properties of individuals. Individualistic phenomena include physical, physiological and mental or psychological properties of individuals. Chapter 1 considers whether social phenomena could be reduced to individualistic phenomena. A discussion of reduction, in so far as it would be applicable to the metaphysical relation between social and individualistic phenomena, reveals that this relation cannot be the one which holds between social and individualistic phenomena. In Chapter 2 a weaker relation than reduction is considered, viz the relation of determination. This is found to hold promise, especially in so far as it captures the relation between mental and physical phenomena. Reasons are considered which make it likely that this relation could be applied to social and individualistic phenomena. Chapter 3 considers a detailed formulation of one specific version of determination: supervenience. Again, the relation as it is applied to mental and physical phenomena is discussed, some objections are raised to it and modifications suggested. This relation is applied to the social-individualistic case in Chapter 4. Examples of its application are analysed and some doubts are raised as to the scope of its application. In this version it applies only to the social and individualistic properties of people. In the final chapter, the relation of supervenience is generalized in order that its application to the relation between social and individual phenomena be extended to cover the relation between social entities and their properties as well as the social properties of individuals. It is shown that all these aspects of the social can be taken to supervene on individualistic phenomena. In this respect, supervenience is shown to be at least a potential candidate for the relation holding between social and individualistic phenomena. Some caveats are raised in the conclusion.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Philosophy, Metaphysics
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/1131

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