Emergence

photos: Niklas Luhman (top), Mario Bunge (bottom) One view that has been taken about the causal properties of social structures is that they are emergent: they are properties that appear only at a certain level of complexity, and do not pertain to the items of which the social structure is composed. This view has a …

Social properties: Persistence, change, and stochastic social processes

How can we explain social change and social persistence?Society is a complex, compositional entity. Both persistence and change require explanation in such entities. Because there is a third alternative condition of such an entity: chaos, randomness, and Brownian motion of individuals in interaction with each other. Succinctly -- the current state of the ensemble is …

Are social facts reducible to something?

What is the relationship between facts about society and facts about individuals? Reducibility means that the statements of one scientific discipline should be logically deducible from the truths of some other "more fundamental" discipline. It is sometimes maintained that the truths of chemistry ought in principle be derivable from those of quantum mechanics. A field …

Methodological localism

How do social causes work? Some social theorists have treated social constructs as unified macro-entities with their own causal powers. Structuralist theories maintain things like "capitalism causes people to value consuming more than family time" or "democracy causes social cohesion." Likewise, some theorists have held that moral systems and cultures cause distinctive patterns of behavior--"Confucian …

Human behavior and institutions

Ultimately social phenomena are the aggregate result of the behavior of socially constituted persons who are acting within the context of locally embodied institutions. If there are regularities within the social realm, they derive from common features of individual agency, common features of institutions, and common processes of aggregation of effects.This implies that social scientists …

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