Explaining Social Behavior
Code: 200595
ECTS: 3.0
Lecturers in charge: doc. dr. sc. Tomislav Janović
Lecturers: Tomislav Janović - Seminar
Take exam: Studomat
English level:


The lecturer is not able to offer courses in English at this time.

1. komponenta

Lecture typeTotal
Lectures 15
Seminar 15
* Load is given in academic hour (1 academic hour = 45 minutes)
The course offers an introduction to basic elements of understanding and explaining human social behavior from the perspective of both contemporary social sciences and philosophy of science. The course is held exclusively in English.
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
1. Master the basic theoretical vocabulary of social scientific thinking
2. Recognize the specific character of social phenomena
3. Differentiate interpretation of social phenomena from their explanation
4. Explain the connection between individual and collective explanation levels of social phenomena
5. Explicate the basic structure of social scientific explanations
6. Name and explain the basic causal patterns ("mechanisms") underlying social phenomena (selfishness and altruism, rational choice, unintended consequences, collective beliefs and collective decision making, norms and institutions)
7. Identify valid explanations of social phenomena and differentiate them from pseudo-explanations
Study Program Learning Outcomes
4. Complementary Skills
4.01. active command of one foreign language in academic communication in general
4.03. utilisation of basic computer skills
1. Knowledge and Comprehension of
1.01. the distinctive features of academic philosophy with its standard disciplines. problems. theories and methods
1.09. standard philosophical terminology
2. Competencies
2.01. the ability to interpret and evaluate philosophical concepts. arguments and theories
2.02. the ability to critically read and interpret philosophical. especially classical. texts
2.04. the ability to apply philosophical knowledge and techniques in solving various philosophical problems
2.05. the ability to recognize the interdisciplinary character of philosophy and its relevance for other areas of knowledge. as well as for upholding a series of moral. social and cultural values
3. Research and Presentation
3.01. the ability to independently read and critically analyse simpler philosophical texts
3.02. the ability to prepare and deliver simpler philosophical presentations and written compositions in a clear and organised manner
3.03. the ability to take part in philosophical and non-philosophical academic discussions in a constructive manner

Week by Week Schedule
1. Introductory lecture: basic information: course objectives, learning methods, student's obligations, credits, and grading
Social world, social ontology, social sciences
2. Behavior, action, agency
3. Groups as agents
4. Questions and explanations in social sciences
5. Questions and explanations in social sciences (cont.)
6. Basic elements of science
7. Structure of social scientific explanation
8. Laws and mechanisms
9. Interpretation as explanation: eliciting human motives
10. Self-interest and altruism
11. Rational choice
12. Strategic interactions and game theory
13. Unintended consequences
14. Collective belief formation
15. Collective action and collective decision making
  1. Jon Elster (2015). Explaining Social Behavior, Cambridge University Press
    Todd Donovan, Kenneth R. Hoover (2013). The Elements of
    Social Scientific Thinking, Cengage Learning
    John A Perry, Erna K Perry (2016). Contemporary Society, Routledge
    Christian List, Philip Pettit (2011). Group Agency, Oxford University Press
    Mark Risjord (2014). Philosophy of Social Science, Routledge von Wright Georg Henrik (2013). Explanation and Understanding, Routledge
Consultations schedule:
  • doc. dr. sc. Tomislav Janović :

    students of Philosophy: Monday 10 AM - 11 AM  (room 117)

    students of Communication Studies: Tuesday 11 AM - 12 PM  (room 117)



    Location: 117
  • doc. dr. sc. Tomislav Janović :

    students of Philosophy: Monday 10 AM - 11 AM  (room 117)

    students of Communication Studies: Tuesday 11 AM - 12 PM  (room 117)



    Location: 117


Hrvatski studiji Sveučilišta u Zagrebu pokrenuti su i ustrojeni 16. studenoga 1992., isprva samo kao dvosemestralni Sveučilišni komparativni studij hrvatske filozofije i društva. Taj je program potom preoblikovan u program redovitog četverogodišnjeg studija.

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