Erotetic contextualism, data-generating procedures, and sociological explanations of social mobility

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (1):38-54 (2004)
Critics of the erotetic model of explanation question its ability to discriminate significant from spurious explanations. One response to these criticisms has been to impose contextual restrictions on a case-by-case basis. In this article, the author argues that these approaches have overestimated the role of interests at the expense of other contextual aspects characteristic of social-scientific explanation. For this reason, he shows how procedures of measuring occupational status and social mobility affected different aspects of one explanation that Peter Blau and Otis Dudley <span class='Hi'>Duncan</span> offered in their sociological classic, The American Occupational Structure . He uses the findings from this case study to meet objections to the erotetic model. Key Words: explanation • social science • erotetic • why-question • context.
Keywords contrast  explanation  erotetic  pragmatic  measurement  sociology
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DOI 10.1177/0048393103260774
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