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ERIC Number: ED226040
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Causality vs. Plausibility: Alternative Stances for Inquiry into Human Behavior. Draft.
Guba, Egon G.; Lincoln, Yvonna S.
Arguing that the concept of causality in human experience is archaic, unnecessary, and misleading, particularly in the social/behavioral sciences, a new plausibility approach is proposed for understanding relationships among entities. The epistemological history of causality includes positivist, deductive-nomological, essentialist, activity or manipulability, and probabilistic approaches. It is proposed that the concept of causality is poorly established and that it has proven to be impossible to divest the concept of causality of influences depending on human experience, judgment and insight. The tendency to describe causality as attributional is examined. It is proposed that the causality concept be replaced with the concept of plausibility; that understanding be substituted for prediction and control. It is argued that plausibility is consistent with naturalistic inquiry and obviates problems with conventional causality formulations. It is suggested that preliminary criteria for determining when a plausibility assertion is sufficiently persuasive should include groundedness in a situation, internal consistency, confirmability and wholism. The proposed argument is applied to the use of interventions for the alleviation of educational problems. (CM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Causality Approach; Plausibility Approach
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (66th, New York, NY, March 19-23, 1982).