David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Annual Review of Sociology 36:49–67 (2010)
During the past decade, social mechanisms and mechanism-based ex- planations have received considerable attention in the social sciences as well as in the philosophy of science. This article critically reviews the most important philosophical and social science contributions to the mechanism approach. The first part discusses the idea of mechanism- based explanation from the point of view of philosophy of science and relates it to causation and to the covering-law account of explanation. The second part focuses on how the idea of mechanisms has been used in the social sciences. The final part discusses recent developments in analytical sociology, covering the nature of sociological explananda, the role of theory of action in mechanism-based explanations, Merton’s idea of middle-range theory, and the role of agent-based simulations in the development of mechanism-based explanations.
|Keywords||explanation causal inference realism agent-based simulation individualism middle-range theory|
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Citations of this work BETA
Petri Ylikoski (2013). Causal and Constitutive Explanation Compared. Erkenntnis 78 (2):277-297.
Jaakko Kuorikoski & Caterina Marchionni (2014). Unification and Mechanistic Detail as Drivers of Model Construction: Models of Networks in Economics and Sociology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 48:97-104.
Hiro Saito (2011). An Actor-Network Theory of Cosmopolitanism. Sociological Theory 29 (2):124-149.
Jaakko Kuorikoski & Petri Ylikoski (2015). External Representations and Scientific Understanding. Synthese 192 (12):3817-3837.
François Claveau (2012). The Russo–Williamson Theses in the Social Sciences: Causal Inference Drawing on Two Types of Evidence. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (4):806-813.
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