Exploratory Factor Analysis
This chapter considers the abductive nature of theory generation by examining the logic and purpose of the method of exploratory factor analysis. It is argued that the common factors that result from using this method are not fictions, but latent variables, which are best understood as genuine theoretical entities. This realist interpretation of factors is supported by showing that exploratory factor analysis is an abductive generator of elementary theories that exploits an important heuristic of scientific methodology known as the principle of the common cause.
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