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date: 14 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article argues that strong “descriptive-causal generalizations” are in fact quite common, at least compared to the standard belief of approximately zero. The philosophy of the special sciences has a great deal to present to those interested in empirical laws and strong generalizations in the social sciences. Social scientists do find and make strong, and empirically supported, causal generalizations. Descriptive-causal generalizations and perfect predictors are in fact the same phenomenon. It will be very hard to defeat the descriptive-causal generalizations using standard statistical strategies. A descriptive-causal generalization sometimes receives the name “empirical law.” The democratic peace is one of the most famous descriptive-causal generalizations in political science. The term “empirical law” indicates that there are multiple dimensions which scientists use to assess generalizations.

Keywords: descriptive-causal generalizations, special sciences, social scientists, standard statistical strategies, empirical law, democratic peace, political science

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