Context in Mechanism-Based Explanation

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 51 (6):523-554 (2021)
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Abstract

In this article, we discuss the issue of context-dependence of mechanism-based explanation in the social sciences. The different ways in which the context-dependence and context-independence of mechanism-based explanation have been understood in the social sciences are often motivated by different and apparently incompatible understandings of what explanatory mechanisms are. Instead, we suggest that the different varieties of context-dependence are best seen as corresponding to different research goals. Rather than conflicting with one another, these goals are complementary to each other and therefore pave the way to a methodologically more cooperative approach to mechanism-based explanation in the social sciences.

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Author Profiles

Gianluca Pozzoni
Università degli Studi di Milano
Tuukka Kaidesoja
University of Helsinki

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References found in this work

The scientific image.C. Van Fraassen Bas - 1980 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Thinking about mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Explanation and scientific understanding.Michael Friedman - 1974 - Journal of Philosophy 71 (1):5-19.
Explanatory unification.Philip Kitcher - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (4):507-531.

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