Deviant Causal Chains, Refutation and Other Problems

  • Jason Warr


This chapter examines the core problems associated with the Humean model of causation and highlights why this is an inadequate form of causal reasoning for criminology and the social sciences. The chapter discusses two central themes: firstly, the Humean model’s relationship to causal generalisations and its subsequent vulnerability to open and direct refutation through the problem of deviant causal chains – where a set of antecedent conditions do not produce the expected consequent. This section also involves a discussion of abduction – inferring to the best explanation and explains why, though intended, this is not what occurs in the social sciences. Secondly, the chapter will explore the Humean model of causation and how it relates to the infamously tangled causation/correlation problem. I explain how the very nature of the Humean construction prevents the discernment of any condition that may be causal from those which are merely correlational. Finally, this chapter will explore and explain just why this formulation of causal reasoning is not a suitable mechanism for understanding the causes of crime.


Causal Complexity Deduction Humean Refutation Theorising 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason Warr
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LincolnLincolnUnited Kingdom

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