Classic methodological individualism states that social scientists should solely offer individualist explanations, that is, explanations that focus on individuals’ contributions to the bringing about of some event. A number of theorists have drawn a connection between ABC modelling and the endorsement of methodological individualism. In the first part of this presentation, I examine and dismiss the claim that (1) ABC modelling necessarily goes hand-in-hand with the advancement of individualist explanations. The rejection of (1) still leaves it open to maintain that (2) ABC modelling should go hand-in-hand with the offering of individualist explanations. In the second part, I consider the most important reasons offered in support of (2) while arguing that they must all be found wanting. Thus, I conclude that ABC modelling is not, and should not, be committed to classic methodological individualism.
Julie Zahle is a philosopher specialized in the philosophy of the social sciences (and the humanities). Her main areas of research are: values in science, the individualism/holism debate, qualitative methods, research ethics, social theories of practice, the philosophy of anthropology and sociology, and the role of science in society. She is currently a research fellow at the Department of Philosophy, University of Bergen in Norway.