Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Explanation and Understanding in the Human Sciences$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Gurpreet Mahajan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780198076971

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198076971.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 August 2019

Explaining Causally

Explaining Causally

(p.1) I Explaining Causally
Explanation and Understanding in the Human Sciences

Gurpreet Mahajan

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses causal explanations. It argues that the notion of cause that is most appropriate for the social sciences is one that undermines the very ground on which causal explanations are frequently privileged and justified. By dissociating explanation from prediction and relinquishing the search for general laws, it renders these explanations incapable of serving the technical interest. Consequently, one is impelled to look beyond causal explanations and explore other ways of the explanation of an occurrence. The social scientist must focus on the dimension of meaning to explain what happened and why it happened—meaning that a particular action had for those agents and the manner in which it was perceived and understood by others. Reference to the dimension of meaning is necessary both to recognize the distinctive nature of the object that the social scientist analyses and to comprehend the specific attributes of a particular social formation.

Keywords:   cause, causal explanations, justification of causal explanations, meaning, social sciences, social scientist, social formation

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .