Social mechanisms, causal inference, and the policy relevance of social science

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 37 (3):348-359 (2007)
Abstract
The paper has two aims. First, to show that we need social mechanisms to establish the policy relevance of causal claims, even if it is possible to build a good argument for those claims without knowledge of mechanisms. Second, to show that although social scientists can, in principle, do without social mechanisms when they argue for causal claims, in reality scientific practice contexts where they do not need mechanisms are very rare. Key Words: social mechanisms • causal inference • social policy.
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Citations of this work BETA
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.
Frank Hindriks (2013). Explanation, Understanding, and Unrealistic Models. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):523-531.
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