An ethos of mathematical sociologist: Weak empirical validity and problem of meaning

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In order to share the problems, mathematical sociologists have to share the criterion of solvability of the problems before they have common interests in a problem. In this paper we characterize this criterion of solvability as a weak empirical validity. Traditionally, sociology tries to explain the processes and results of actions by interpreting meanings of actions. It is often hard to verify an empirical truthness of a theory for sociologists when they are careful about actor's subjective meaning too much, since they cannot observe directly meanings of actions. Therefore we should confirm an empirical truthness of a model not by checking assumptions itself, but by checking whether the model can predict approximately a social phenomenon which we want to explain, Thus a weak empirical validity is a criterion by which we can confirm a coincidence between the implication derived from a model and a social phenomenon by checking the data. Mathematical sociology as a science will progress by developing the models that satisfy a weak empirical validity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-198
Number of pages16
JournalSociological Theory and Methods
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Meaning
  • Solvability
  • Weak empirical validity


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