The realist approach to explanatory mechanisms in social science: More than a heuristic?

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (3):440-462 (2009)

Abstract
The mechanism-realist paradigm in the philosophy of science, championed by Mario Bunge and Roy Bhaskar, sets certain expectations for the substantive social-scientific application of the paradigm. To evaluate the application of the paradigm in accomplished substantive research, as well as the potential for future research, I examine the work of Charles Tilly, the exemplary substantive work in the mechanism-realist tradition. Based on this examination, I argue for the usefulness of explanatory mechanisms, provided that they are couched in terms of a heuristic. Such a position is the most reasonable one to adopt given the expectations set by the paradigm in relation to complexity stemming from mechanism interaction and to a notion of causality that is deeper than that acknowledged by empiricism and positivism
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DOI 10.1177/0048393108329268
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References found in this work BETA

A Realist Theory of Science.Caroline Whitbeck - 1977 - Philosophical Review 86 (1):114.
Mechanism and Explanation.Mario Bunge - 1997 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 27 (4):410-465.
How Does It Work?: The Search for Explanatory Mechanisms.Mario Bunge - 2004 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (2):182-210.
Process Metaphysics. An Introduction to Process Philosophy.Nicholas Rescher - 1996 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 32 (4):689-697.
Do We Need Mechanisms in the Social Sciences?Julian Reiss - 2007 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 37 (2):163-184.

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Citations of this work BETA

Theoretical Procedures and Elder-Vass's Critical Realist Ontology.Leonidas Tsilipakos - 2014 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44 (6):0048393112461055.
Processual Comparative Sociology.Chares Demetriou - 2012 - Sociological Theory 30 (1):51-65.

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