A Methodological Outlook on Causal Identification and Empirical Methods for the Analysis of Social Mechanism

Dominik Becker


The debate on empirical tests of social mechanisms suffers from a fragmented view on the relative benefit of the empirical method a researcher considers to be superior, compared to the flaws of all other methods. In this outlook. I argue that disciplinary barriers might be surmounted by a common methodological perspective on the analysis of social mechanisms. First, experimental, quantitative, qualitative, and simulation methods (agent-based modeling) are all required, but also capable to deal with the issue of causal identification, respectively. Second, having established causal identification (among which I subsume strategies to deal with causal heterogeneity). each method disposes of genuine techniques to deal with the most crucial property of mechanism-based explanations: input-mechanism-output (IMO) relations.

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The Journal is devoted to the fundamental issues of empirical and normative social theory, and is directed at social scientists and social philosophers who combine commitment to political and moral enlightenment with argumentative rigour and conceptual clarity. Published articles develop social theorizing in connection with analytical philosophy and philosophy of science.