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Department of History and Philosophy of Science


Calculating People is a reading group on history and philosophy of social sciences. This term we concentrate on the changing practices in contemporary social sciences: the credibility revolution, the challenge of description and explanation of complex and politically sensitive phenomena, and interdisciplinarity. All are welcome to join, but participants undertake to do the readings ahead of time and endeavour to attend all meetings. Below is a provisional schedule which may be modified as meetings progress.

The meetings take place on Tuesdays, 2–3pm UK time on Zoom. Organised by Christopher Clarke and Anna Alexandrova.

Michaelmas Term 2021

12 October

Anastasia Buyalskaya, Marcos Gallo, Colin F. Camerer (2021) 'The golden age of social science.' Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118 (5) e2002923118.

19 October

Christensen, G., Freese, J., & Miguel, E. (2019). Transparent and Reproducible Social Science Research. University of California Press. Read pages 15–147 (skimming through the boring bits).

26 October

Ashworth, Scott, Berry, Christopher R. and de Mesquita, Ethan Bueno. Theory and Credibility: Integrating Theoretical and Empirical Social Science, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2021. Introduction and conclusion (skimming through the content in between).

2 November

K. Paige Harden. '"Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated": Behavior Genetics in the Postgenomic Era', Annual Review of Psychology 2021 72:1, 37–60.

9 November

Besbris, Max, and Shamus Khan. 'Less Theory. More Description.' Sociological Theory 35, no. 2 (2017): 147–153.

16 November

Lohse, S. (2017). 'Pragmatism, ontology, and philosophy of the social sciences in practice.' Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 47(1), 3–27.

23 November

Kohler-Hausmann, Issa. 'Eddie Murphy and the dangers of counterfactual causal thinking about detecting racial discrimination.' Nw. UL Rev. 113 (2018): 1163.

30 November

Majeed, R. 'On Biologising Racism.' British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.