Annual Review of Sociology 36:49–67 (2010)
During the past decade, social mechanisms and mechanism-based ex- planations have received considerable attention in the social sciences as well as in the philosophy of science. This article critically reviews the most important philosophical and social science contributions to the mechanism approach. The first part discusses the idea of mechanism- based explanation from the point of view of philosophy of science and relates it to causation and to the covering-law account of explanation. The second part focuses on how the idea of mechanisms has been used in the social sciences. The final part discusses recent developments in analytical sociology, covering the nature of sociological explananda, the role of theory of action in mechanism-based explanations, Merton’s idea of middle-range theory, and the role of agent-based simulations in the development of mechanism-based explanations.
|Keywords||explanation causal inference realism agent-based simulation individualism middle-range theory|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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Citations of this work BETA
External Representations and Scientific Understanding.Jaakko Kuorikoski & Petri Ylikoski - 2015 - Synthese 192 (12):3817-3837.
Unification and Mechanistic Detail as Drivers of Model Construction: Models of Networks in Economics and Sociology.Jaakko Kuorikoski & Caterina Marchionni - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 48:97-104.
The Russo–Williamson Theses in the Social Sciences: Causal Inference Drawing on Two Types of Evidence.François Claveau - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (4):806-813.
Causal Mechanisms and the Philosophy of Causation.Ruth Groff - 2016 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 46 (3).
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