File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_1997/bhaskar.9708, message 2

Date: Fri, 01 Aug 1997 05:45:17 -0400
To: bhaskar-AT-jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU
Subject: Re: BHA: Non-experimental science (was "What must the ...")

At 07:06 PM 7/30/97, Lewis wrote:

>Although Marshal, Doug and I are in agreement on CR not being a general, a
>priori theory and requiring at least support in the various domains outside
>natural science, as I said in a response to Doug's post I disagree with
>his, and now Marshall's, way of putting it in terms of the meanings of
>"science", "cause" and "explanation."  I don't think it is right to say
>that the meanings of those terms are fixed by a CR analysis of natural
>science, especially the last two.  On their understanding, having fixed
>those meanings we go on to ask if social studies are capable of causal
>explanation, and if they are, whether those explanations are scientific in
>character.  I would prefer to say that first we establish what natural
>science is in CR terms and then ask whether causal explanations in other
>domains conform to the same kind of depth analysis.  If the answer were to
>turn out negative in some domain, I don't know that we should declare that
>there are no causal explanations in that domain simply because they do not
>conform to the CR account gleaned from natural science.  I wonder how
>others feel about this matter.


Here's what I think is at stake here.  On your account we might have to
start with, say, Herb Blalock's empiricist account of causal explanation in
social science (which is actually a version of Humean-J.S. Mill causal
explanation) and ask if it conforms to the CR account of causal explanation
in experimental science.  The answer would be "no."  Does this mean CR does
not apply, or is Blalock full of -AT-$#^?

Marshall Feldman, Associate Professor		      
Graduate Curriculum in Community Planning and Area Development	401/874-5953
The University of Rhode Island					401/874-5511 (FAX)
94 West Alumni Avenue, Suite 1; Kingston, RI 02881-0806

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