Valerie Soon, Stanford University, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Crown Building, 3rd Floor, Stanford, CA, USA.

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Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA

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Valerie Soon, Stanford University, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Crown Building, 3rd Floor, Stanford, CA, USA.

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Social problems such as racism, sexism, and inequality are often cited as structural rather than individual in nature. What does it mean to invoke a social structural explanation, and how do such explanations relate to individualistic ones? This article explores recent philosophical debates concerning the nature and usages of social structural explanation. I distinguish between two central kinds of social structural explanation: those that are autonomous from psychology, and those that are not. This distinction will help clarify the explanatory power that each type of SSE has, points of convergence with methodological traditions such as critical theory and rational choice theory, and the difficulties that each type of SSE faces.

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