An incremental approach to causal inference in the behavioral sciences

Synthese 191 (10):2089-2113 (2014)

Abstract
Causal inference plays a central role in behavioral science. Historically, behavioral science methodologies have typically sought to infer a single causal relation. Each of the major approaches to causal inference in the behavioral sciences follows this pattern. Nonetheless, such approaches sometimes differ in the causal relation that they infer. Incremental causal inference offers an alternative to this conceptualization of causal inference that divides the inference into a series of incremental steps. Different steps infer different causal relations. Incremental causal inference is consistent with both causal pluralism and anti-pluralism. However, anti-pluralism places greater constraints the possible topology of sequential inferences. Arguments against causal inference include questioning consistency with causation as an explanatory principle, charging undue complexity, and questioning the need for it. Arguments in favor of incremental inference include better explanation of diverse causal inferences in behavioral science, tailored causal inference, and more detailed and explicit description of causal inference. Incremental causal inference offers a viable and potentially fruitful alternative to approaches limited to a single causal relation
Keywords Causation  Causal inference  Behavioral science  Causal pluralism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-013-0386-x
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 39,951
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Causality.Judea Pearl - 2009 - Cambridge University Press.
Philosophical Papers.David Lewis - 1983 - Oxford University Press.

View all 19 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Causation in the Social Sciences: Evidence, Inference, and Purpose.Julian Reiss - 2009 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (1):20-40.
An Epistemology of Causal Inference From Experiment.Karen R. Zwier - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):660-671.
Causal Inference.C. Glymour, P. Spirtes & R. Scheines - 1991 - Erkenntnis 35 (1-3):151 - 189.
Causal Cognition and Causal Realism.Riccardo Viale - 1999 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (2):151 – 167.
Inferring Causation in Epidemiology: Mechanisms, Black Boxes, and Contrasts.Alex Broadbent - 2011 - In Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press. pp. 45--69.
Causal Reasoning and Backtracking.James M. Joyce - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 147 (1):139 - 154.
Causal Factors, Causal Inference, Causal Explanation.Elliott Sober & David Papineau - 1986 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 60 (1):97 - 136.
Social Mechanisms and Causal Inference.Daniel Steel - 2004 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (1):55-78.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-12-21

Total views
26 ( #306,617 of 2,235,908 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #367,010 of 2,235,908 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature