Methodological Individualism

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In the social sciences, an endless debate is ongoing involving fundamental issues pertaining between methodological individualism and methodological holism. The reason this is such a deep rooted heated debate amongst researchers is the fact that it touches upon our most 'deeply-seated' beliefs about the nature of the individual and of society, our knowledge about these, and the idea of a good society (Udehn, 2002). According to Parsons (1937) methodological individualism is a claim in social phenomena which must be explained by showing how these results from individual actions, which in turn must be explained through reference to the intentional states that motivate the individual actors. Simply put, it is the claim that explanations of …show more content…
Following economist Mark Blaug (1992), he believed that the effect to rule out the “macro” propositions that could not be reduced to the “micro” would mean that all research using the implication of the “macro” would have devastating effects for society, thus there must be something wrong with this methodological principle. What is then majorly argued by theorist against methodological individualism is the fact that working on theories based on an infinite amount of possibilities could come up with an infinite amount of conclusions, thus never coming to the route of the issue at hand. Secondly, much research conducted on the “macro”, which has not been able to be explained in terms of “micro”, has been used by researchers with great success for society as a whole, however if the methodological individualism model is correct, all of that research would be rejected, and since no one is willing to throw out good research, there is a problem with methodological individualism. Although methodological individualism is based on an infinite amount of possibilities, Mises (1998) writes, society is not a sui generis entity; “there is I and you and Bill and Joe and all the rest.” From a methodological individualism viewpoint, collective nouns describing social phenomena do not refer to independent substances. The idea the methodological individualism develops a reductionist explanation of social phenomena to

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