Postgraduate Module Descriptor

SOCM002B: Philosophy of the Social Sciences

This module descriptor refers to the 2018/9 academic year.


NQF Level7
Credits30 ECTS Value15
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Nigel Pleasants (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


This module introduces you to key philosophical concepts that aid reflection on the foundations of social science inquiry and research. It examines questions of ontology (What does society consist of? How is it created and maintained/changed? Is a social entity more than the sum of the individuals that constitute it?), epistemology (Which aspects of society, social organisation and structure can we know, and how?), and value (What normative stance and attitude should social scientists adopt towards their objects and subjects of inquiry?). The topics discussed will also address the basic question of the relation of the social sciences to the natural sciences (What kind of discipline is social science? Does the subject matter of the social sciences differ fundamentally from that of the natural sciences). The module is suited to students from across the range of social sciences and cognate disciplines

Module created


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