Contextualism, explanation and the social sciences

Philosophical Explorations 7 (3):201 – 218 (2004)
Debates about explanation in the social sciences often proceed without any clear idea what an 'account' of explanation should do. In this paper I take a stance - what I will call contextualism - that denies there are purely formal and conceptual constraints on explanation and takes standards of explanation to be substantive empirical claims, paradigmatically claims about causation. I then use this standpoint to argue for position on issues in the philosophy of social science concerning reduction, idealized models, social mechanisms, functional explanations, inference to the best explanation and interpretive understanding.
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DOI 10.1080/1386979045000258312
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References found in this work BETA
David Lewis (1996). Elusive Knowledge. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (4):549 – 567.

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Citations of this work BETA
Julian Reiss (2012). Causation in the Sciences: An Inferentialist Account. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (4):769-777.

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