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Rosa W. Runhardt
Leiden University
  1.  34
    Evidence for Causal Mechanisms in Social Science: Recommendations From Woodward’s Manipulability Theory of Causation.Rosa W. Runhardt - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):1296-1307.
    In a backlash against the prevalence of statistical methods, recently social scientists have focused more on studying causal mechanisms. They increasingly rely on a technique called process-tracing, which involves contrasting the observable implications of several alternative mechanisms. Problematically, process-tracers do not commit to a fundamental notion of causation, and therefore arguably they cannot discern between mere correlation between the links of their purported mechanisms and genuine causation. In this paper, I argue that committing to Woodward's interventionist notion of causation would (...)
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  2.  17
    Causal Comparability, Causal Generalizations, and Epistemic Homogeneity.Rosa W. Runhardt - 2017 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 47 (3):183-208.
    The issue of causal comparability in the social sciences underlies matters of both generalization and extrapolation. After critiquing two existing interpretations of comparability, due to Hitchcock and Hausman, I propose a distinction between ontological and epistemic comparability. While the former refers to whether two cases are actually comparable, the latter respects that in cases of incomplete information, we need to rely on whatever evidence we have of comparability. I argue, using a political science case study, that in those cases of (...)
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  3.  17
    Causal Mechanisms in Political Science.Rosa W. Runhardt - 2015 - Metascience 24 (3):453-456.
    Philosophers of social science have emphasized mechanistic approaches to causal inquiry for some time now, showing why focusing on the mechanisms behind correlations is preferable to focusing on correlations alone (cf. Johnson 2006, Little 1991, Reiss 2007, 2009, Steel 2004, see also King, Keohane, and Verba 1994 for an example of purely correlational research). In Process Tracing: from Metaphor to Analytic Tool, political scientists Andrew Bennett and Jeffrey Checkel present a concrete method for finding evidence of causal mechanisms, process tracing. (...)
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  4.  11
    A New Take on Causal Mechanisms in Social Contexts: Manipulability Theory’s Demands for Mechanistic Reasoning.Rosa W. Runhardt - manuscript
    In this paper, I investigate the study of causal mechanisms in the social sciences. I argue that unless one adopts a clear notion of causation, such as Woodward's manipulability theory of causation, one does not find evidence for causal claims. I show that adopting Woodward’s theory entails that a researcher must take into account both the observable implications of the mechanisms, and possible interventions on those mechanisms. In a backlash against the pervasiveness of statistical methods, in the last decade or (...)
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