Parsimony and Causality

Parsimony and Causality 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Quality & Quantity Springer Journals

Parsimony and Causality

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Social Sciences, general; Methodology of the Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general
ISSN
0033-5177
eISSN
1573-7845
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11135-014-0026-7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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.

Journal

Quality & QuantitySpringer Journals

Published: Apr 23, 2014

References

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