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Explanation and causal reasoning: A contribution to the interpretation of competing explanatory claims

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Sverre Wide
Ulla Wide Boman
Publicerad i Theory & psychology
Volym 23
Nummer/häfte 6
Sidor 701-715
ISSN 0959-3543
Publiceringsår 2013
Publicerad vid Institutionen för odontologi
Sidor 701-715
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959354313496154
Ämnesord aetiology, causation, Collingwood, dental anxiety, explanation, explanatory claims
Ämneskategorier Odontologisk beteendevetenskap, Psykologi (exklusive tillämpad psykologi), Sociologi (exklusive socialt arbete, socialpsykologi och socialantropologi)


The aim of this study is to attain a better understanding of the relationship between competing or complementary scientific explanatory claims. First, six different ways of approaching explanatory claims are briefly described and found, in part, to be unsatisfactory. It is argued that they should be supplemented by an analysis of underlying and sometimes partly unacknowledged causal presuppositions. This approach could be termed a causal analytical investigation, and in order to demonstrate its potential, it is applied to a concrete example: research into dental anxiety. The analysis shows that seemingly competing or complementary explanatory claims here neither compete with nor complement each other; instead, the analysis demonstrates that they explain different things. We then broaden the picture by discussing the relationship between aetiology and treatment. Finally we argue in favour of the general applicability of the approach and its relevance to science in general and to science-based practice.

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