Evidential Pluralism in the Social Sciences  book cover
1st Edition

Evidential Pluralism in the Social Sciences

  • Available for pre-order on March 30, 2023. Item will ship after April 20, 2023
ISBN 9780367697228
April 20, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
192 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $170.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This volume contends that Evidential Pluralism - an account of the epistemology of causation, which maintains that in order to establish a causal claim one needs to establish the existence of a correlation and the existence of a mechanism - can be fruitfully applied to the social sciences. Through case studies in sociology, economics, political science and law, it advances new philosophical foundations for causal enquiry in the social sciences. The book provides an account of how to establish and evaluate causal claims and it offers a new way of thinking about evidence-based policy, basic social science research and mixed methods research. As such, it will appeal to scholars with interests in social science research and methodology, the philosophy of science and evidence-based policy.

Table of Contents

I Philosophical Framework

1 Evidential Pluralism

§1. What is Evidential Pluralism?

§2. Why is Evidential Pluralism Plausible?

§3. Evidential Pluralism and EBM+

§4. Controversies and Clarifications

§5. Evidential Pluralism and Epistemic Causality

§6. Applying Evidential Pluralism to the Social Sciences

2 Historical Roots

§7. Bernard

§8. Weldon

§9. Goldthorpe

§10. How does Evidential Pluralism differ?

II Consequences and Concerns

3 Evidence-Based Policy: EBP+

§11. EBM and EBP

§12. EBP+ Evaluation Procedures

§13. EBP+ in Comparison to Existing Approaches

4 Mixed Methods Research

§14. The Context of the Origins of Mixed Methods Research

§15. Mixed Methods Research and its Philosophical Foundations

§16. A Critical Analysis

§17. Evidential Pluralism and Mixed Methods Research

5 Objections and Responses

§18. Objection 1: The Problem of Sufficiency

§19. Objection 2: The Problem of Necessity

§20. Objection 3: The Problem of Causal Monism

§21. Objection 4: The Problem of Defining Mechanisms

III Particular Social Sciences

6 Sociology

§22. Causal Enquiry in Sociology

§23. Sociologists’ Methodological Reflections on Causal Enquiry

7 Economics

§24. Causal Enquiry in Economics

§25. Benefits of Evidential Pluralism in Economics

§26. Mechanisms and Theory in Economics

§27. Causal and Methodological Pluralism in Economics

8 Political Science

§28. The Need for Methodological Diversity in Political Science

§29. Case Study: Resource Wealth and Violence in Rebellions

§30. Understanding Causal Enquiry in Political Science

9 Law

§31. The Bifurcation Approach to Causation in the Law

§32. The Bifurcation Approach and Evidential Pluralism

§33. Liability-Tracing Mechanisms

§34. Against Causal Autonomy in the Law

10 The Scope of Evidential Pluralism in the Social Sciences

§35. Across the social sciences

§36. Where we stand


View More



Yafeng Shan is Research Associate in Philosophy at the University of Kent, UK. He is the author of Doing integrated History and Philosophy of Science: A Case Study of the Origin of Genetics and the editor of New Philosophical Perspectives on Scientific Progress.

Jon Williamson is Professor of Reasoning, Inference, and Scientific Method at the University of Kent, UK. His books include Evaluating Evidence of Mechanisms in Medicine, Lectures on Inductive Logic, Probabilistic Logics and Probabilistic Networks, In Defence of Objective Bayesianism and Bayesian Nets and Causality.