This paper takes issue with the current tendency in the literature on Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) to settle for so-called intermediate solution formulas, in which parsimony is not maximized. I show that there is a tight conceptual connection between parsimony and causality: only maximally parsimonious solution formulas reflect causal structures. However, in order to maximize parsimony, QCA—due to its reliance on Quine-McCluskey optimization (Q-M)—is often forced to introduce untenable simplifying assumptions. The paper ends by demonstrating that there is an alternative Boolean method for causal data analysis, viz. Coincidence Analysis (CNA), that replaces Q-M by a different optimization algorithm and, thereby, succeeds in consistently maximizing parsimony without reliance on untenable assumptions.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 23, 2014
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