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Weighted explanations in history

Northcott, Robert (2008) Weighted explanations in history. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 38 (1). pp. 76-96.

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Weighted explanations, whereby some causes are deemed more important than others, are ubiquitous in historical studies. Drawing from influential recent work on causation, I develop a definition of causal-explanatory strength. This makes clear exactly which aspects of explanatory weighting are subjective and which objective. It also sheds new light on several traditional issues, showing for instance that: underlying causes need not be more important than proximate ones; several different causes can each be responsible for most of an effect; small causes need not be less important than big ones; and non-additive interactive effects between causes present no particular difficulty.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Keywords: causation; explanation; history; interaction; proximate; underlying
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Sociology
Depositing User: Dr Robert Northcott
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2018 21:26
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2018 21:26
Item ID: 15408
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophy of the Social Sciences
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Sociology
Date: March 2008
Page Range: pp. 76-96
Volume: 38
Number: 1

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