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  1. When Are Purely Predictive Models Best?Robert Northcott - 2017 - Disputatio 9 (47):631-656.
    Can purely predictive models be useful in investigating causal systems? I argue ‘yes’. Moreover, in many cases not only are they useful, they are essential. The alternative is to stick to models or mechanisms drawn from well-understood theory. But a necessary condition for explanation is empirical success, and in many cases in social and field sciences such success can only be achieved by purely predictive models, not by ones drawn from theory. Alas, the attempt to use theory to achieve explanation (...)
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  • Predictive Success and Non-Individualist Models in Social Science.Richard Lauer - 2017 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 47 (2):145-161.
    The predictive inadequacy of the social sciences is well documented, and philosophers have sought to diagnose it. This paper examines Brian Epstein’s recent diagnosis. He argues that the social sciences treat the social world as entirely composed of individual people. Instead, social scientists should recognize that material, non-individualistic entities determine the social world, as well. First, I argue that Epstein’s argument both begs the question against his opponents and is not sufficiently charitable. Second, I present doubts that his proposal will (...)
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