Philosophy of Social Enquiry (GE 511)

Philosophy of Social Enquiry (GE 511)

Lecturer: Sandy Berkovski

Spring 2018

Contact details, Bilkent ext. 1048
Office hours
H147, Thu 10:30-12:30, and by appointment


Readings for this course consist of articles. There is only one source: the electronic collection provided by the lecturer.

Y. S. Berkovski. Philosophy of Social Enquiry: Course reader. Link to the .pdf file forwarded at the beginning of the semester.

Preliminary term schedule

Abbreviations: `Author[i]' designates item #i in [Ber18]. Starred items demand especially close scrutiny, either because of the significance of their arguments, or because of their sophistication, or both. Items with a dagger will be discussed only in passing (but remember that every item on the list is a required reading). Items with a dagger will be discussed only in passing (but remember that every item on the list is a required reading)
Week 1
Social facts: Durkheim[1], Mauss[2]
Week 2-3
Objectivity: *Weber[3], *Fleck[4], Schumpeter[5]
Week 4
Explanation and ideal types: *Weber[6], †Weber[7]
Week 5
Laws and complexity: Hempel[8], †Hayek[9]
Week 6
Explaining culture: Banfield[10], Murdock[11]; Midterm exam
Week 7-8
Culture, biology, psychology: *Cosmides and Tooby[12]
Week 9
Cultural representations: Sperber[13], Sperber[14]
Week 9-10
Cultural dissemination: *Axelrod[15]
Week 11
Social norms: Goffman[16], *Posner[17]
Week 12-13
Social norms: *Bicchieri[18]
Week 13-14
Social norms: *Axelrod[19]
Week XXX
Functionalism: Malinowski[20], Cohen[21], *Elster[22]
Week XXX
Economic models: Friedman[23], Gibbard and Varian[24]
Week 15
Final exam


Midterm and final exams
There will be two open-book exams.
Six quizzes (fifteen minutes each) will be administered in the course of the semester. Their dates will not be announced in advance. They will typically require commenting on a short fragment of the text.
Students are encouraged to take part in the discussion at the class. This includes asking meaningful questions, however trivial they might seem. Additionally, students may submit short written comments (200-300 words) on the text we currently study before the relevant class.
Please note that latecomers will not be allowed into class, including those that are late from the break. This rule will be strictly enforced throughout the semester.


Midterm exam                     36%
Final exam                     36%
Participation                     10%
Quizzes                     18%
While your overall grade at the end of the term will be according to the A-F scale, I shall grade your work during the term by using Bilkent's standard percentage scale. These two scales relate to each other as follows:
Numerical scale (%)                     Letter scale
95 - 100                     A
90 - 94                     A-
86 - 89                     B+
82 - 85                     B
78 - 81                     B-
74 - 77                     C+
70 - 73                     C
67 - 69                     C-
63 - 66                     D+
59 - 62                     D
00 - 58                     F
Please note that the students will be allowed to sit the final exam only if they get a combined grade of at least 59/100 for their midterm exam, quizzes, and homework assignments (that is, when their average grade for these requirements is at least D).

File translated from TEX by TTH, version 4.08.