Why Does American Sociology Need Critical Realism?

Why Does American Sociology Need Critical Realism? January 6, 2016

In this brief video interview, Professor Douglas Porpora explains how he became increasingly interested in critical realism. He briefly and eloquently addresses questions that critical realism provides better answers to than most other metatheories: What is causation? What is a good explanation? Porpora narrates how he was led to critical realism because he questioned the covering-law model of causality dominant in sociology. And he argues that motivations are not only real but potentially causal. If critical realism were to become the dominant metatheory in sociology, our methods would become not only pluralistic but integrated.

PorporaProfileIn case you missed it, you can still hear Professor Porpora discuss his new book, Reconstructing Sociology: The Critical Realist Approach, on the webinars page of Critical Realism Network website. (You will still need to “register” to access the webinar.)

Also see Timothy Rutzou’s blog post about Porpora’s Reconstructing Sociology on the Critical Realism Network website.

Want to learn more about critical realism? Check out our past webinars with Philip Gorski and George Steinmetz.

And be sure to register for our upcoming webinar, January 19th, 2016, at 10 am EST with anthropologist Webb Keane of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor on “The Emergence of Ethical Concepts in Social History.”

Professor Porpora, Steinmetz, Gorski, and Dr. Rutzou and myself, will be leading two summer seminars in 2016 on philosophy of social science, one for graduate students in sociology and the other for post-docs and junior faculty in sociology. Those application deadlines are both in January, so be sure to consider it!

The Critical Realism Network is also still accepting applications for two working groups: Human Flourishing, Social Solidarity and Critical Realism, and one on Using Critical Realism in Sociological Research–A Graduate Student Working Group. Both of those application deadlines are also in January-please check it out soon!

To keep updated, join our Facebook group and follow us on Twitter (@EngageCR). And be sure to sign up to receive our monthly newsletter.


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