Sawyer’s theory of social causation: a critique

Cresswell, M (2021) 'Sawyer’s theory of social causation: a critique.' Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 51 (3). pp. 266-288. ISSN 0048-3931

13651.pdf - Accepted Version
Repository Terms Apply.

Download (1MB) | Preview
Official URL:


This article critiques R. Keith Sawyer’s theory of social causation from his 2005 book Social Emergence. It considers his use of analogy with the philosophy of mind, his account of individual agency, the legacy of Emile Durkheim, the concepts of supervenience, multiple realization, and wild disjunction, and the role of history in social causation. Sawyer’s theory is also evaluated in terms of two examples of empirical research: his own micro-sociological studies into group creativity; and Margaret Archer’s macro-sociology of education systems.

Item Type: Article

This article was first published online in December 2020 ahead of its inclusion in an issue.

Keywords: diachronic, multiple realization, social causation, supervenience, synchronic, wild disjunction
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: School of Sciences
Identification Number:
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2020 12:32
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2021 13:39
URI / Page ID:
Request a change to this item or report an issue Request a change to this item or report an issue
Update item (repository staff only) Update item (repository staff only)