Methodological Theories

Discipline: Philosophy

The term 'methodological' is prefixed to terms - such as behaviorism, holism, individualism, skepticism and solipsism - to indicate that the doctrine in question is being taken to prescribe a certain method rather than to make a substantive claim about reality.

This is irrespective of whether or not the prescription is based on such a substantive claim (in the case of holism and individualism it usually is; but in that of behaviorism, not necessarily).

Methodological holism and methodological individualism form an important contrast pair in the philosophy of the social sciences, the former seeking explanations in terms of social wholes or structures and the latter seeking them ultimately in facts about individuals.

A Ryan, The Philosophy of the Social Sciences (1970), ch. 8


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