Some Considerations on Method

Gurpreet Mahajan

in Explanation and Understanding in the Human Sciences

Third edition

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780198076971
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080403 | DOI:
Some Considerations on Method

Show Summary Details


This chapter presents two conclusions that follow from the preceding discussions of the nature and structure of causal explanations, reason-action explanations, hermeneutic understanding, and the narrative mode. First, each of these four modes of inquiry represents an independent and autonomous form of explanation. Second, the ‘why’ interrogative can be answered in different ways and causal explanations present one way of answering that question. Reason-action explanations and the narrative provide alternatives to the causal mode of inquiry: indeed, they constitute non-causal forms of explanation. Recognition of alternative modes of explanation is a necessary prerequisite for a critical appraisal of the beliefs that inform our thinking on scientific investigation and knowledge.

Keywords: causal explanations; reason-action explanations; hermeneutic understanding; narrative mode; modes of inquiry

Chapter.  3193 words. 

Subjects: Indian Politics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.