David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (2):237-259 (2004)
mechanism" is frequently encountered in the social science literature, but there is considerable confusion about the exact meaning of the term. The article begins by addressing the main conceptual issues. Use of this term is the hallmark of an approach that is critical of the explanatory deficits of correlational analysis and of the covering-law model, advocating instead the causal reconstruction of the processes that account for given macro-phenomena. The term "social mechanisms" should be used to refer to recurrent processes generating a specific kind of outcome. Explanation of social macro-phenomena by mechanisms typically involves causal regression to lower-level elements, as stipulated by methodological individualism. While there exist a good many mechanism models to explain emergent effects of collective behavior, we lack a similarly systematic treatment of generative mechanisms in which institutions and specific kinds of structural configurations play the decisive role. Key Words: causal regression correlational analysis emergent effects micro-macro processes social mechanisms structural determinants.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Jaakko Kuorikoski (2009). Two Concepts of Mechanism: Componential Causal System and Abstract Form of Interaction. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (2):143 – 160.
Zenonas Norkus (2005). Mechanisms as Miracle Makers? The Rise and Inconsistencies of the "Mechanismic Approach" in Social Science and History. History and Theory 44 (3):348–372.
Nathalie Bulle (2009). Under What Conditions Can Formal Models of Social Action Claim Explanatory Power? International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (1):47-64.
John Michael Roberts (2014). Critical Realism, Dialectics, and Qualitative Research Methods. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 44 (1):1-23.
Ronald Jepperson & John W. Meyer (2011). Multiple Levels of Analysis and the Limitations of Methodological Individualisms. Sociological Theory 29 (1):54 - 73.
Similar books and articles
Peter Hedström & Petri Ylikoski (2010). Causal Mechanisms in the Social Sciences. Annual Review of Sociology 36:49–67.
Alexander Rueger (2004). Reduction, Autonomy, and Causal Exclusion Among Physical Properties. Synthese 139 (1):1-21.
Robert Adcock (2007). Who's Afraid of Determinism? The Ambivalence of Macro-Historical Inquiry. Journal of the Philosophy of History 1 (3):346-364.
Karl-Dieter Opp (2005). Explanations by Mechanisms in the Social Sciences. Problems, Advantages and Alternatives. Mind and Society 4 (2):163-178.
Colin Wight (2004). Theorizing the Mechanisms of Conceptual and Semiotic Space. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (2):283-299.
Cristiano Castelfranchi (2000). Through the Agents' Minds: Cognitive Mediators of Social Action. Mind and Society 1 (1):109-140.
Alexander Rueger (2004). Reduction, Autonomy, and Causal Exclusion Among Physical Properties. Synthese 139 (1):1 - 21.
Daniel Steel (2004). Social Mechanisms and Causal Inference. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (1):55-78.
Erik Weber (2007). Social Mechanisms, Causal Inference, and the Policy Relevance of Social Science. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 37 (3):348-359.
Mario Bunge (1997). Mechanism and Explanation. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 27 (4):410-465.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads25 ( #108,415 of 1,699,575 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #269,935 of 1,699,575 )
How can I increase my downloads?