Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (3):328-351 (2004)

This article makes six points, using evidence from the Iranian Revolution of 1979: (1) Causal mechanisms, indeed all explanations, imply certain inner states on the part of individuals. (2) The experience of revolution is dominated by confusion. (3) People involved in revolutions act largely in response to their best guesses about how others are going to act. (4) These guesses and responses can shift swiftly and dramatically, in ways that participants and observers cannot predict. (5) Explanation involves retroactive prediction: it implies that if we had recognized causal factors A, B, or C at the time, we would have expected some ensuing development. (6) To the extent that revolutionary experience is characterized by confusion, then understanding this experience may disconfirm all explanation. Key Words: understanding • Verstehen • explanation • revolution.
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DOI 10.1177/0048393104266687
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References found in this work BETA

Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Studies in the Logic of Explanation.Carl Gustav Hempel & Paul Oppenheim - 1948 - Philosophy of Science 15 (2):135-175.

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Citations of this work BETA

Reflections on the Revolutionary Wave in 2011.Colin J. Beck - 2014 - Theory and Society 43 (2):197-223.
Against anti-explanation.Carlos Andrés Ramírez - 2021 - Cinta de Moebio 71:109-123.

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