chapter  4
34 Pages

Objects of the Social World

A conception of a social group as a composite material particular means we need not accord social groups a special metaphysical place any more than we need to confine them to the metaphorical slums. The recognition that groups are material particulars supports a broadly naturalist approach to the social sciences. A naturalist approach is one that takes there to be a substantive sense in which there are continuities between the natural and social sciences. That continuity may no longer be sought in the form of a common methodology drawn from the practices of the hard sciences, or in a shared commitment to the discovery and elucidation of laws as the hallmark of a scientific domain of enquiry. In recognising that groups are objects in the world, the natural and social sciences find that at a high order of taxonomic classification they are studying the same kinds of thing material particulars.