The Philosophy of Quantitative Methods

  • Brian D. HaigEmail author
Part of the Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics book series (SAPERE, volume 45)


This chapter undertakes a philosophical examination of four prominent quantitative research methods that are employed in the behavioural sciences. It begins by outlining a scientific realist methodology that can help illuminate the conceptual foundations of behavioural research methods. Typically, these methods contribute to either the detection of empirical phenomena or the construction of explanatory theory. The methods selected for critical examination are exploratory data analysis, Bayesian confirmation theory, meta-analysis, and causal modelling. The chapter concludes with a brief consideration of directions that might be taken in future philosophical work on quantitative methods. Two additional quantitative methods, exploratory factor analysis and tests of statistical significance, are examined in more detail in separate chapters.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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