Monthly Archives: November 2016

the world and the knower

“Realism raises all kinds of interesting questions when we consider applying it to the social sciences. For one thing, it requires a usable distinction between the world and the knower. This raises the question: Is there an objective social world independent from the perceptions and concepts of observers? And, this also is a complicated question in the case of the social sciences, because the persons who make up social processes at the micro level are themselves “knowers” of the social world.” (Daniel Little, New Directions in the Philosophy of Social Science, p.222)

individuals in the structural theory

“The distinction between general, or population-level causes (e.g., “Drinking hemlock causes death”) and singular or unit-level causes (e.g., “Socrates’ drinking hemlock caused his death”), which many philosophers have regarded as irreconcilable (Eells, 1991), introduces no tension at all in the structural theory. The two types of sentences differ merely in the level of situation-specific information that is brought to bear on a problem, that is, in the specificity of the evidence e that enters the quantity P(Yx = y|e). When e includes all factors u, we have a deterministic, unit-level causation on our hand; when e contains only a few known attributes (e.g., age, income, occupation etc.) while others are assigned probabilities, a population-level analysis ensues.” (Judea Pearl, Causal inference in statistics: An overview, Statistics Surveys, Vol. 3 (2009), p.120)