Spring 2019 - SA 358 C100

The Philosophy of the Social Sciences (SA) (4)

Class Number: 3080

Delivery Method: Distance Education


  • Course Times + Location:

    Distance Education

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 15, 2019
    Mon, 3:30–6:30 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



An analysis of the nature of explanation in the social sciences: 'mind' and action, positivist and interpretive modes of explanation, sociological and historical explanation, objectivity, forms of relativism, the concept of rationality.


This course is designed to build understanding about the foundations of scientific inquiry and how these are related to specific paradigms for social scientific explanation. Students will be introduced to the interrelated nature of ontology, epistemology and methodology, and how these are thus related to the logic and validity of knowledge claims. Paradigms for social scientific explanation will be introduced, critically examined, and applied to understand the legal and political relationship between Indigenous peoples and the Canadian state from various perspectives. By examining how different perspectives reflect different interests, students will develop an appreciation for the complexity of the philosophy of the social sciences.


  • Participation/Online Discussion 20%
  • Written Dialogues 20%
  • Analytical Reflections 20%
  • Final Exam 40%



Potter, G. (2017). The Philosophy of Social Science: New Perspectives (2nd edition). New York: Pearson / Routledge.
ISBN: 9781138998407

Bowles, P., & Veltmeyer, H. (2014). The Answer is Still No: Voices of Pipeline Resistance. Fernwood Publishing.
ISBN: 9781552666623

Coulthard, G. (2014). Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition. MINN: University of Minnesota Press.
ISBN: 9780816679652

Centre for Online and Distance Education Notes:

All CODE Courses are delivered through Canvas unless noted otherwise on the course outline.

Required Readings listed on the course outlines are the responsibility of the student to purchase. Textbooks are available for purchase at the SFU Bookstore on the Burnaby campus or online through the Bookstore's website.

All CODE courses have an Additional Course Fee of $40

Exams are scheduled to be written on the SFU Burnaby campus at the noted time and date (unless noted as a take-home exam). 
If your course has a take-home exam, please refer to Canvas for further details. 

Students are responsible for following all Exam Policies and Procedures (e.g., missing an exam due to illness).

This course outline was accurate at the time of publication but is subject to change. Please check your course details in your online delivery method, such as Canvas.

*Important Note for U.S. citizens: As per the U.S. Department of Education, programs offered in whole or in part through telecommunications, otherwise known as distance education or correspondence are ineligible for Federal Direct Loans. This also includes scenarios where students who take distance education courses outside of their loan period and pay for them with their own funding, and attempt to apply for future Federal Direct Loans. 

For more information about US Direct Loans please visit and to read our FAQ on distance education courses, please go here: http://www.sfu.ca/students/financialaid/international/us-loans/federal-direct-loan.html


Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html