With or Without Mechanisms A Reply to Weber

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 37 (3):360-365 (2007)
This reply to Erik Weber's commentary agrees that mechanisms are important for causal inference in social science, but argues that Weber makes the mistake that was the main focus of my original essay: inferring that since a problem cannot be solved without mechanisms, it can be solved with them. As it stands, this inference is invalid since the problem might be unsolvable with or without mechanisms. Any claim about the usefulness of mechanisms for some purpose requires an adequate account of how mechanisms can actually fulfill that function, which Weber has not provided with regard to the issues he discusses
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DOI 10.1177/0048393107303817
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