News

MeMa - Mechanisms and Black Boxes - 17/01/20

MeMa - Methodology Matters
Seminar 

Mechanisms and Black Boxes 

17 January 2020, 13.30
Room A
NASP Graduate School
Via Pace, 10 - Milan

Chair
Maurizio Ferrera (NASP-University of Milan)

Speakers
Andrew Bennett – Georgetown University
Daniel Little – University of Michigan-Dearborn
Flaminio Squazzoni – BEHAVElab and University of Milan

The mechanistic understanding of causation marks the rise of modern science as a rational and empirical endeavor independent of metaphysical assumptions. Mechanisms shift puzzling events in a scheme of antecedents and-consequents that makes the world intelligible from within. As a rhetorical device, the scheme guides our learning from the past and assists us in imagining the future. Its confirmation on the testbench of observations, moreover, yields usable knowledge for desirable changes.
Conventionally, we locate a mechanism within the 'black box' connecting a causal input and the output effect. Researchers have long been invited to open it up and better prove the existence and shape of these connections. However, mechanisms have proven as hard to grasp as once metaphysical objects had.
Some strategies equate them to the interaction of some fundamental constituents and test whether consistent models allow retrieving the effect. The move invites to a Chinese box regress that the model assumptions can conveniently bottom out. The move, nevertheless, cannot prevent the question of the tenability of these assumptions, or the doubt that the model trades relevant heterogeneity for parsimony or viability.
The concern for unsound portrayals motivates those strategies that trace the mechanism as the single sequence of occurrences in a case. In providing richer evidence, it raises the twin question of which level of detail is needed to ensure an airtight, seamless image of the process, and of how to sort the hallmarks of the causal process from the vagaries of the local context.
In short: are interactions and chains the same mechanism at different degrees of generality, or different mechanisms instead? If related, which criteria one should meet to dis/confirm the other? Then, should the two be 'nested' into a single research design for the sake of higher credibility, or can we keep on relying on the scientific division of labor among the invisible colleges?
This MeMa seminar invites leading scholars from different disciplines to engage in a conversation on fundamental questions of mechanistic causation, and the practical consequences that different responses can have on research standards, protocols, and collaborative practices.

Latest News

WS-Detecting Causati…

WS-Detecting Causation in Political and Policy Studies - 24/01/2020

NASP is glad to announce the workshop   Detecting Causationin P...

CfA - NASP YISP for …

CfA - NASP YISP for EITM Europe 2020

Call for Scholarship Applications:NASP Young Investigator Scholarships...

EITM Europe 2020 - C…

EITM Europe 2020 - CfA

NASP in cooperation with the University of Mannheim is pleased to anno...

Conference: Scienza …

Conference: Scienza della divulgazione e divulgazione delle scienze - 28/01/20

On the occasion of the birth of the webmagazine "Naspread.eu", NASP in...

2020 ECSR-CCA-NASP S…

2020 ECSR-CCA-NASP Spring School - CfA

NASP is pleased to announce the call for application to the seventh ed...

IIS - Klaus Armingeo…

IIS - Klaus Armingeon - 10/01/2020

NASP International and Interdisciplinary Seminars Klaus Armingeon (Un...

Inauguration AY 2019…

Inauguration AY 2019/20

NASP is pleased to invite you to the INAUGURATION of the Academic Yea...

Season Holiday Closu…

Season Holiday Closure 2019

Season Holiday Closure   We wish to inform you about the follow...

The Network

                                                                                 

With the support of

     

This site uses cookies

for the operation of the platform and for statistics . Continue if you agree.

I understand