Causal Explanation for Social Scientists: A Reader

Overview

All social scientists, despite their differences on many issues, ask causal questions about the world. In this anthology, Andrew P. Vayda and Bradley B. Walters set forth strategy and methods to answer those questions. The selected readings, all illuminating causal explanation for social scientists, are not only by anthropologists, sociologists, economists, and human ecologists but also by philosophers, biologists, psychologists, historians, and specialists in other fields. The essays will appeal to those doing ...
See more details below
Paperback (New Edition)
$37.96
BN.com price
(Save 4%)$39.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (5) from $35.57   
  • New (4) from $35.57   
  • Used (1) from $37.95   
Sending request ...

Overview

All social scientists, despite their differences on many issues, ask causal questions about the world. In this anthology, Andrew P. Vayda and Bradley B. Walters set forth strategy and methods to answer those questions. The selected readings, all illuminating causal explanation for social scientists, are not only by anthropologists, sociologists, economists, and human ecologists but also by philosophers, biologists, psychologists, historians, and specialists in other fields. The essays will appeal to those doing applied research on practical problems as well as those seeking mainly to satisfy their curiosity about the causes of whatever events or types of events interest them.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Human Ecology
The volume is a compendium unlike most others. Rather than gather causal arguments about specific substantive outcomes, Vayda and Walters have assembled essays on how to question, how to reason, and why to do it a pragmatic fashion....The book is thoroughly coherent, strategically repetitive, and by no means unconvincing. Whether your field is human ecology, land change science, vulnerability research, or political ecology, there are sobering lessons here about bad methodological habits and good question writing....[I]t is hard not to come away from this collection with a renewed sense of energy and possibility. The world is filled with strange events and outcomes, after all, none of which have ready-made answers, and all of which can avail themselves to energetic observers with open minds. For a moment, viewed this way, it is possible to think that environment-society research might actually be filled with surprise. That is a welcome message.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759113268
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press
  • Publication date: 2/16/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew P. Vayda is professor emeritus of anthropology and ecology at Rutgers University. Bradley B. Walters is professor of geography and environment at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introductory Essay: Pragmatic Methods and Causal-History Explanations by Andrew P. Vayda and Bradley B. Walters

Part I. A Pragmatic View of Causal Explanation
Chapter 1. Causal Explanation by David Lewis
Chapter 2. The Notion of Witchcraft Explains Unfortunate Events by E. E. Evans-Pritchard
Chapter 3. Geertz and the Interpretive Approach in Anthropology by Michael Martin

Part II. Causal Histories of Events
Chapter 4. The Range and Power of Narrative Style in Science by Stephen Jay Gould
Chapter 5. Famines by Amartya Sen
Chapter 6. Analysis or Reductionism? by Ernst Mayr
Chapter 7. The Role of Fact in the Particular and the General by Richard C. Lewontin
Chapter 8. Explanatory Relativity by Alan Garfinkel

Part III. "How-Possibly" Explanations
Chapter 9. Homage to Clio, or Toward an Historical Philosophy for Evolutionary Biology by Robert J. O'Hara

Part IV. Systems and Structures
Chapter 10. Plague and Fertility in Early Modern Europe by Geoffrey Hawthorn

Part V. Theories, Generalizations, and Practical Judgments
Chapter 11. Thermostats, Lemons, and Other Families of Models by Thomas C. Schelling
Chapter 12. Rice Harvesting: A View from the Theory of Common Property by Neil H. Sturgess and Hesti Wijaya

Part VI. Causal Reasoning: Forms, Results, and Caveats
Chapter 13. Statistical Models and Shoe Leather by David A. Freedman
Chapter 14. The Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses by T.C. Chamberlin
Chapter 15. Confirmation Biase: A Ubiquitous Phenomenon in Many Guises by Raymond S. Nickerson
Chapter 16. The Last Northern Cod by Thomas R. McGuire
Chapter 17. The Body of the Detective Model: Charles S. Peirce and Edgar Allan Poe by Nancy Harrowitz
Chapter 18. Thinking and Reasoning in Medicine by Vimla L. Patel, Jose F. Arocha, and Jiajie Zhang
Chapter 19. On Types of Scientific Inquiry: The Role of Qualitative Reasoning by David A. Freedman
Chapter 20. Counterfactuals and Revisionism in Historical Explanation by Ross Hassig

Part VII. Consequence Explanations and their Misuse
Chapter 21. The Obsessional Search for Meaning by Jon Elster
Chapter 22. Confirmation Bias in Consequence Explanations by Andrew P. Vayda

Part VIII. Dos and Don'ts in Interdisciplinary Research on Causes of Events
Chapter 23. Dos and Don'ts in Interdisciplinary Research on Causes of Fires in Tropical Moist Forests: Examples from Indonesia by Andrew P. Vayda
Chapter 24. Critical Regions, Ecosystem Management, and Human Ecosystem Research by Thomas K. Rudel
Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)