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Contingent Realism—Abandoning Necessity

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Abstract:

In recent years, realism—particularly critical realism—has become an important philosophical and methodological foundation for social science. A key feature is that of natural necessity, but this coexists alongside an acceptance of contingency in the social world. I argue in this paper that there cannot be any natural necessity in the social world, but rather the real nature of the social world is that it is contingent. This need not lead to an abandonment of realism, and indeed I argue that a contingent form of realism allows us to bring ontological probability back into realism.

Keywords: Contingency; Necessity; Probability; Realism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02691728.2010.534566

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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