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  1. Evidential Monism, Evidential Pluralism, or Evidential Contextualism? An Introduction to Evidential Diversity in the Social Sciences.Yafeng Shan & Jon Williamson - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-6.
    Social scientists often draw on a variety of evidence for their causal inferences. There is also a call to use a greater variety of evidence in social science research. This topical collection examines the philosophical foundations and implications of evidential diversity in the social sciences. It assesses the application of Evidential Pluralism in the context of the social sciences, especially its application to economics and political science. It also discusses the concept of causation in cognitive science and the implications of (...)
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  • Limits to evidential pluralism: multi-method large-N qualitative analysis and the primacy of mechanistic studies.Rosa W. Runhardt - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-23.
    Evidential pluralists, like Federica Russo and Jon Williamson, argue that causal claims should be corroborated by establishing both the existence of a suitable correlation and a suitable mechanism complex. At first glance, this fits well with mixed method research in the social sciences, which often involves a pluralist combination of statistical and mechanistic evidence. However, statistical evidence concerns a population of cases, while mechanistic evidence is found in individual case studies. How should researchers combine such general statistical evidence and specific (...)
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  • Resolving Empirical Controversies with Mechanistic Evidence.Mariusz Maziarz - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):9957-9978.
    The results of econometric modeling are fragile in the sense that minor changes in estimation techniques or sample can lead to statistical models that support inconsistent causal hypotheses. The fragility of econometric results undermines making conclusive inferences from the empirical literature. I argue that the program of evidential pluralism, which originated in the context of medicine and encapsulates to the normative reading of the Russo-Williamson Thesis that causal claims need the support of both difference-making and mechanistic evidence, offers a ground (...)
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  • Taking the Russo-Williamson Thesis Seriously in the Social Sciences.Virginia Ghiara - 2022 - Synthese 200 (6).
    The Russo Williamson thesis states that a causal claim can be established only if it can be established that there is a difference-making relationship between the cause and the effect, and that there is a mechanism linking the cause and the effect that is responsible for such a difference-making relationship. The applicability of Russo and Williamson’s idea was hugely debated in relation to biomedical research, and recently it has been applied to the social sciences. While many philosophers and social scientists (...)
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  • On Laws of Politics and How to Establish Them.Erik Weber - forthcoming - PS: Political Science and Politics.
    Alfred Cuzán proposed five “laws of politics” that allegedly govern elections in democracies. Drawing from insights in the general philosophy of science and the philosophy of the social sciences, I argue that—although his empirical evidence is impressive—he failed to develop a convincing argument for calling the five theses “laws.” This article discusses other examples that often are claimed to be “laws of politics” and describes the global picture supporting this analysis.
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  • The Feasibility and Malleability of EBM+.Jon Williamson - 2021 - Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science 36 (2):191-209.
    The EBM+ programme is an attempt to improve the way in which present-day evidence-based medicine assesses causal claims: according to EBM+, mechanistic studies should be scrutinised alongside association studies. This paper addresses two worries about EBM+: that it is not feasible in practice, and that it is too malleable, i.e., its results depend on subjective choices that need to be made in order to implement the procedure. Several responses to these two worries are considered and evaluated. The paper also discusses (...)
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