David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (1):55-78 (2004)
Several authors have claimed that mechanisms play a vital role in distinguishing between causation and mere correlation in the social sciences. Such claims are sometimes interpreted to mean that without mechanisms, causal inference in social science is impossible. The author agrees with critics of this proposition but explains how the account of how mechanisms aid causal inference can be interpreted in a way that does not depend on it. Nevertheless, he shows that this more charitable version of the account is still unsuccessful as it stands. Consequently, he advances a proposal for shoring up the account, which is founded on the possibility of acquiring knowledge of social mechanisms by linking together norms or practices found in a society. Key Words: causality social mechanisms interpretation anthropology.
|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.
Erik Weber (2009). How Probabilistic Causation Can Account for the Use of Mechanistic Evidence. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (3):277-295.
Phyllis McKay Illari (2011). Mechanistic Evidence: Disambiguating the Russo–Williamson Thesis. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (2):139 - 157.
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.
Frank Hindriks (2013). Explanation, Understanding, and Unrealistic Models. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):523-531.
Similar books and articles
Peter Hedström & Petri Ylikoski (2010). Causal Mechanisms in the Social Sciences. Annual Review of Sociology 36:49–67.
Julian Reiss (2007). Do We Need Mechanisms in the Social Sciences? Philosophy of the Social Sciences 37 (2):163-184.
Renate Mayntz (2004). Mechanisms in the Analysis of Social Macro-Phenomena. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (2):237-259.
Karl-Dieter Opp (2005). Explanations by Mechanisms in the Social Sciences. Problems, Advantages and Alternatives. Mind and Society 4 (2):163-178.
Paul Thagard (1998). Explaining Disease: Correlations, Causes, and Mechanisms. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 8 (1):61-78.
Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.) (2011). Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press.
Alex Broadbent (2011). Inferring Causation in Epidemiology: Mechanisms, Black Boxes, and Contrasts. In Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press. 45--69.
Erik Weber (2008). Reply to Daniel Steel's "with or Without Mechanisms". Philosophy of the Social Sciences 38 (2):267-270.
Erik Weber (2007). Social Mechanisms, Causal Inference, and the Policy Relevance of Social Science. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 37 (3):348-359.
Daniel Steel (2007). With or Without Mechanisms A Reply to Weber. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 37 (3):360-365.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads40 ( #44,849 of 1,099,536 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #300,754 of 1,099,536 )
How can I increase my downloads?