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In this paper the author explores the problem of the individual microfoundations of social behavior. In the first part of the text the author attempts to clarify the meaning of methodological individualism. He claims that methodological individualism builds upon two theses that he defines as 'weak' and 'strong' respectively. In the second part of the paper, he assesses the validity of the strong thesis. The author argues that methodological individualism “although powerful to account for an important set of social phenomena” cannot aspire to have the monopoly of sociological explanations. Selective explanations provide an alternative explanatory framework that can come into conflict with the strong thesis that underpins methodological individualism. In the third part of the paper, the author attempts to reply to some possible objections that could be raised against his argument. If the main claim of this paper is correct, whether or not sociological explanations must be couched in individualistic terms should be decided on a case-by-case basis, based on the specific characteristics of the empirical problems at stake.

Diego Rios Pozzi
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
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