Philosophy of the Social Sciences 38 (1):76-96 (2008)

Authors
Robert Northcott
Birkbeck, University of London
Abstract
, whereby some causes are deemed more important than others, are ubiquitous in historical studies. Drawing from influential recent work on causation, I develop a definition of causal-explanatory strength. This makes clear exactly which aspects of explanatory weighting are subjective and which objective. It also sheds new light on several traditional issues, showing for instance that: underlying causes need not be more important than proximate ones; several different causes can each be responsible for most of an effect; small causes need not be less important than big ones; and non-additive interactive effects between causes present no particular difficulty. Key Words: causation • explanation • history • interaction • proximate • underlying.
Keywords explanation  history
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DOI 10.1177/0048393107311045
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References found in this work BETA

Causality.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Causation, Prediction, and Search.Peter Spirtes, Clark Glymour & Richard Scheines - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):113-123.
Making Things Happen. A Theory of Causal Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):233-249.
The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.

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Citations of this work BETA

Verisimilitude: A Causal Approach.Robert Northcott - 2013 - Synthese 190 (9):1471-1488.
Causation in the Social Sciences: Evidence, Inference, and Purpose.Julian Reiss - 2009 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (1):20-40.
Degrees of Causation.Matthew Braham & Martin van Hees - 2009 - Erkenntnis 71 (3):323 - 344.
Degree of Explanation.Robert Northcott - 2012 - Synthese 190 (15):3087-3105.
Partial Explanations in Social Science’.Robert Northcott - 2012 - In Harold Kincaid (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Social Science. Oxford University Press. pp. 130-153.

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