For positivists, explanation results when regularities have been identified, ordinarily in closed systems: event (x), then event (y). Antecedent conditions in the chain of events, such as x, may be added to and measured with increasing degrees of sophistication — what we call statistical methods — and may tell us, at most, that an event did occur or, sometimes, will occur; however, there is no requirement to show ‘why’ two or more events in constant conjunction produce a subsequent event. Grounds for expecting an event to occur, thus, are confused with the causal explanation for why an event occurred; in short, explanation is reduced to prediction.
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