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  A mode of inference (particularly associated with realism) in which events are explained by postulating (and then identifying) the mechanisms by which they are produced. Those mechanisms realize causal powers, the potential causes of events which have to be activated (as with the striking of a match and the creation of fire): those powers may not be observable (as with gravity) and their existence has to be retroduced from appreciation of observed events. (RJJ)

Suggested Reading Sayer, A. 1992: Method in social science: a realist approach, 2nd edn. London: Routledge.



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