Contrast explanation in economics : Its context, meaning, and potential

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Morgan , J & Patomäki , H O 2017 , ' Contrast explanation in economics : Its context, meaning, and potential ' , Cambridge Journal of Economics , vol. 41 , no. 5 , pp. 1391–1418 .

Title: Contrast explanation in economics : Its context, meaning, and potential
Author: Morgan, Jamie; Patomäki, Heikki Olavi
Contributor organization: Department of Political and Economic Studies (2010-2017)
Political Science
Centre of Excellence in Global Governance Research
Date: 2017-08-30
Language: eng
Number of pages: 28
Belongs to series: Cambridge Journal of Economics
ISSN: 0309-166X
Abstract: In this article we place Tony Lawson’s account of contrast explanation in context. Lawson’s development of it is given meaning both by the roots of the approach in his work on social ontology and the state of economics that provides the grounds for the critique contained in that social ontology. This is important because such an approach to explanation is not new. Most notably, van Fraassen and Garfinkel have developed it in particular ways and for particular purposes within the philosophy of science and social theory. Setting out the different ways in which the contrastive approach has been developed is useful for identifying what is different about Lawson’s approach, its potential and limits. Lawson’s proposal is more modest and focusses on causal investigation in a manner that flows from his approach to social ontology. Contrast explanation provides a substitute for controlled experiments and facilitates identifying social mechanisms. It also enables exploration of the manifold presuppositions of our explanatory questions. We argue that this is a useful and important contribution to overcoming some of the many problems economics faces.
Subject: 511 Economics
Causal analysis
Peer reviewed: Yes
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: acceptedVersion

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