Perspectives on Science seminar 10.2.

At next week’s Perspectives on Science -seminar (10.2.) Matti Sarkia, Tuukka Kaidesoja and Mikko Hyyryläinen (TINT, HCAS & University of Helsinki) will present their paper “Mechanistic Explanations in the Cognitive Social Sciences: Lessons from Three Case Studies”.

Perspectives on Science is a weekly research seminar which brings together experts from science studies and philosophy of science. It is organized by TINT, the Centre for Philosophy of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. More information about the seminar here.

The seminar will take place in the Unioninkatu 37, lecture room, from 14 to 16.


Our paper evaluates recent attempts to integrate concepts and theories from the cognitive sciences to the social sciences in the form of three case studies, which deal with the phenomena of social coordination, transactive memory, and ethnicity. We analyze these cases with the aid of contemporary mechanistic philosophy of science. Moreover, we assess how successful they have been in crossing disciplinary boundaries, and where more work remains to be done. Our results indicate that the potential of the cognitive sciences to shed light on social scientific research questions needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, However, in some cases, there are important gains to be had from greater interdisciplinary integration between the cognitive and social sciences. We also indicate how cognitive scientists studying social phenomena may learn from social science.