The US Constitution: Abduction & Causal Mechanisms


Initially written in 1787, the US Constitution experienced little changes over the period of three centuries. Therefore, many representatives of the American legal system hold doubt for the theoretical and practical applicability of the document’s fundamental doctrines to the contemporary paradigm of US democracy. This assignment explores the two current perspectives on the relevance of the US Constitution, including abductive theory and causal mechanisms, along with a personal opinion on the matter.

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Abductive Theory

On the contrary to some experts in political studies who define the relevance of the Constitution based on the feasibility of ideal experiments, an abductive theory acknowledges that the Constitution has a non-causal form of dependence. Consequently, Craver’s mutual manipulability theory (MM) should not be considered valid for it disregards a necessary implication of the constitutional discovery – no experimentum crucis (as cited in Baumgartner and Casini 216). Baumgartner’s and Casini’s abductive theory can be easily observed on the parameter of the US justice system. The delayed legal processes and overloaded judicial structure do not happen as a result of outdated constitutional statements instead of a misleading interpretation of theoretical frameworks. As an explanation, Baumgartner and Casini suggest that legal phenomena supervene on their constituents (214). While the premise of the US Constitution is relevant at its core, the document cannot be held adequately accounted for mutual difference-making relations.

Causal Mechanisms

Unlike the proponents of the abductive theory, supporters of causal mechanisms in the Constitution believe that the document involves a particular causal relationship with respect to the constitutive relevance. As noted by Gebharter, though constitutive relevance discovery is subject to certain limitations, standard methods developed for causal discovery can be applied in terms of philosophical research (2450). From the author’s perspective, societal issues of freedom of expression, intolerance, and secularism are directly connected with constitutional assertions. However, in his research, Gebharter also emphasizes the importance of historical context when it comes to the interpretation of the document (2661). In the eighteenth century, the rejection of government supremacy was revolutionary, as no other Constitution adopted the belief that political power comes from God (Gebharter 2661). While many secular Americans find this part of the Constitution particularly disturbing, it is empirical to the understanding of its relevance. Instead of aiming to limit one’s freedom of religious expression, this doctrine established causal relationships between justice and all political power, wherein natural law comes in the form of God-given right to rule.

Personal Opinion

When assessing the relevance of the US Constitution, it is critical to realize the inherently imperfect nature of the document. In other words, certain laws will need to be adjusted over the span of time. Meanwhile, the US Constitution effectively outlines basic human needs, rights, and limitations that did not lose their applicability over hundreds of years. The document is also relevant as it sets the US apart from all the other nations, highlighting its unique national identity and governmental system.


Experts in the field of political studies are divided into two groups. While some belief in the abductive theory of the US Constitution when arguing for its relevance, others propose causal mechanisms in the constitutional relevance relationships. Both theorists, however, came to the conclusion that the document is still relevant to the current American legal system. Discrepancies in its execution result not from the inapplicable theoretical frameworks but their misleading interpretation.

Works Cited

Baumgartner, Michael, and Lorenzo Casini. “An Abductive Theory of Constitution.” Philosophy of Science, vol. 84, no. 2, 2017, pp. 214-233, Web.

Gebharter, Alexander. “Uncovering Constitutive Relevance Relations in Mechanisms.” Philosophical Studies, vol. 174, no. 11, 2017, pp. 2645-2666, Web.

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StudyCorgi. "The US Constitution: Abduction & Causal Mechanisms." August 16, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "The US Constitution: Abduction & Causal Mechanisms." August 16, 2021.


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