Revitalizing Causality: Realism about Causality in Philosophy and Social Science, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Revitalizing Causality

Realism about Causality in Philosophy and Social Science, 1st Edition

Edited by Ruth Groff


266 pages

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This cutting edge collection of new and previously published articles by philosophers and social scientists addresses just what it means to invoke causal mechanisms, or powers, in the context of offering a causal explanation. A unique collection, it offers the reader various disciplinary and inter-disciplinary divides, helping to stake out a new, neo-Aristotelian position within contemporary debate.

Table of Contents

Part I – Key Formulations 1. Critical Realism and Substance 2. Causality and Substance 3. Essence and Accident 4. Conceptual and Natural Necessity 5. Powers and Dispositions Part II – Realism About Causality in Philosophy 6. Meaning, Truth and Causal Explanation: The ‘Humean Condition’ Revisited 7. Aristotelian Powers 8. Powers, Dispositions, Properties 9. Inessential Aristotle: Powers Without Essences 10. Causal Exclusion and Evolved Emergent Properties 11. Are There Natural Kinds in Psychology? Part III – Realism About Causality in Social Science 12. Sociology’s Causal Confusion 13. The Mother of All Isms: Causal Mechanisms in Political Science 14. Marxisn Crisis Theory and Causality 15. On the Clear Comprehension of Political Economy: Social Kinds and the Significance of Section 2 of Marx's Capital

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Critical Realism

Critical Realism is a broad movement within philosophy and social science. It is a movement that began in British philosophy and sociology following the founding work of Roy Bhaskar, Margaret Archer and others. Critical Realism emerged from the desire to realise an adequate realist philosophy of science, social science, and of critique. Against empiricism, positivism and various idealisms (interpretivism, radical social constructionism), Critical Realism argues for the necessity of ontology. The pursuit of ontology is the attempt to understand and say something about ‘the things themselves’ and not simply about our beliefs, experiences, or our current knowledge and understanding of those things. Critical Realism also argues against the implicit ontology of the empiricists and idealists of events and regularities, reducing reality to thought, language, belief, custom, or experience. Instead Critical Realism advocates a structural realist and causal powers approach to natural and social ontology, with a focus upon social relations and process of social transformation.

Important movements within Critical Realism include the morphogenetic approach developed by Margaret Archer; Critical Realist economics developed by Tony Lawson; as well as dialectical Critical Realism (embracing being, becoming and absence) and the philosophy of metaReality (emphasising priority of the non-dual) developed by Roy Bhaskar.

For over thirty years, Routledge has been closely associated with Critical Realism and, in particular, the work of Roy Bhaskar, publishing well over fifty works in, or informed by, Critical Realism (in series including Critical Realism: Interventions; Ontological Explorations; New Studies in Critical Realism and Education). These have all now been brought together under one series dedicated to Critical Realism.

The Centre for Critical Realism is the advisory editorial board for the series. If you would like to know more about the Centre for Critical Realism, or to submit a book proposal, please visit

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Movements / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General