The Causes of Human Behavior: Implications for Theory and by Lawrence B. Mohr

By Lawrence B. Mohr

Acknowledging that even though the disciplines are meant to be cumulative, there's little within the manner of collected, normal idea, this paintings opens a discussion in regards to the acceptable ability and ends of social learn dependent in research of basic issues.

This publication examines root concerns within the technique of explanatory social research--the which means of the assumption of causation in social technology and the query of the physiological mechanism that generates intentional habit. Conclusions on those in addition to on numerous derived difficulties emerge during the research. one of the latter, the research exhibits that neither common nor probabilistic legislation governing human habit are attainable, even in the positivist or empiricist traditions during which legislation are a valuable characteristic. as a substitute, the research finds a extra modest view of what an explanatory social thought could be and do. during this view, the type of conception that may be produced is largely an analogous in shape and content material throughout quantitative and qualitative learn techniques, and equally throughout diversified disciplines. the 2 streams of research are mixed with ensuing implications for large-sample, small-sample, and case examine study layout in addition to for legislation and theory.

Written for the training empirical researcher in political technological know-how and association thought, even if quantitative or qualitative, the main issuesand findings are supposed to carry identically, besides the fact that, for heritage, sociology, and different social technology disciplines.

Lawrence B. Mohr is Professor of Political technological know-how and Public coverage, collage of Michigan.

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The Causes of Human Behavior: Implications for Theory and Method in the Social Sciences

Acknowledging that although the disciplines are meant to be cumulative, there's little within the means of accrued, normal idea, this paintings opens a discussion concerning the acceptable ability and ends of social learn dependent in research of primary concerns. This ebook examines root matters within the method of explanatory social research--the that means of the assumption of causation in social technology and the query of the physiological mechanism that generates intentional habit.

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Collateral effects can be a serious threat to valid causal inference in case studies and, as noted previously, constitute the single-instance version of spurious causation, which is a similarly severe problem for many large- and small-n 38 The Causes of Human Behavior research designs. The nature of that problem to the researcher is getting at true causes in part by recognizing the spurious ones for what they are. As previously reviewed, the counterfactual definition forces us to consider spurious causes as true causes, but we do not and certainly do not want to think of them in that way.

Intuitively, we know the difference. The ball was a cause in a direct, physical, mechanical sense as well as being a necessary condition, whereas opening the shutter was a cause only in the necessary condition sense, but not more. We recognize the difference in ordinary language in that we would (and did) say that the ball “broke” the window but would not say that opening the shutter broke the window. In fact, if we were to say that someone broke the window by opening the shutter we would mean something quite different from what happened in this case.

Did James’s being pleased cause John to be sad? Using the counterfactual definition, one is required to say yes. Before elaborating, we need to understand the stipulation “suffi- Factual Cause 21 cient for” as I have used it here. I mean “sufficient in the strong sense” (Mackie 1980: 39–44). If we refer to a law or regularity when we say that W is sufficient for Y, we mean that every time W occurs, so does Y. But if we refer only to a single instance, as here, what can “sufficient” mean except that W occurred and Y occurred (which we already know from an element of the counterfactual definition)?

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