Forms of explanation in social science6 December, 2012 at 21:05 | Posted in Theory of Science & Methodology | 2 Comments
For all scholars seriously interested in questions on what makes up a good scientific explanation, Alan Garfinkel‘s Forms of Explanation (Yale University Press 1990) is a must read. A lot of recent work done within different realist schools in theory of science – e.g. Roy Bhaskar, Andrew Collier, Richard W Miller and Tony Lawson – issue not so little from questions and problems posed by Garfinkel. Especially his advocacy of contrast explanations and critique of methodological individualism and other forms of reductionism are still unsurpassed.
Given this it is almost scandalous that this modern classic is not reprinted. I was lucky to get a copy from an antiquarian, but of course this is a book that should have been reprinted long ago!