Methodological Individualism and the D-N Model
Chapter 2 examined the issue of derivational reduction without looking at two of its central assumptions. In this chapter, I make good that omission. I seek answers to two crucial questions. Do we have social and individual laws? Do all explanations satisfy conditions imposed by the D-N model? The reader will notice that I add little new to the existing stock of answers to these questions. What follows, in the initial sections of this chapter, is a brief recapitulation of some familiar arguments for the benefit of those interested in these issues but without the time to look elsewhere. Surprisingly, however, little has been said on the bearing these answers have on the feasibility of MI. After making this explicit, I ask if explanations can find rational backing from another, if not the D-N, model. The relevance of this other question I make plain in Chapter 4.
A law is a statement with the syntactical form of the universal conditional, is general in that its application is not restricted to a particular object or specific spatio-temporal location, is distinct from an analytic statement, expressing empirically confirmed relationships, and, finally, meets the requirements of contrary-to-fact and subjunctive conditionals.1 In brief, laws are general, well confirmed,2 exceptionless,3 and entail counterfactuals.____________________