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The Method of Agreement Example

Perhaps the best way to introduce mills methods is through an example. Let`s say your family goes out together for a buffet dinner, but when you got home, you all felt sick and had a stomach ache. How do you determine the cause of the disease? Suppose you create a chart of foods taken by each member of the family: John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) was an English philosopher who wrote on a wide range of topics ranging from language and science to political philosophy. The so-called “grinding methods” are five rules for investigating the causes he proposed. It has been suggested that some of these rules were discussed by the famous Islamic scientist and philosopher Avicenna (980-1037). For a property to be a necessary condition, it must always be present when the effect is present. Since this is so, we are interested in examining the cases where the effect is present and determining which properties are present among those considered “possible necessary conditions” and which are missing. Obviously, all the properties that are missing when the effect is present cannot be necessary conditions for the effect. This method is also more generally referred to in comparative politics as the most diverse system design. Symbolically, the tuning method can be represented as follows: One of the main features of scientific methodology is verification and falsification. Remember in chapter 4 that a call to ignorance is made when we conclude for lack of evidence that something is or is not the case. While there are times when a lack of evidence should lead to a verdict that the original claim is unsubstantiated (as in a criminal court), this is not the case in scientific practice.

As an example of the difference method, consider two similar countries. Country A has a center-right government, a unified system and was a former colony. Country B has a center-right government, a unified system, but has never been a colony. The difference between countries is that country A willingly supports anti-colonial initiatives, while country B does not. The difference method would identify the independent variable as the status of each country as a former colony or not, with the dependent variable supporting anti-colonial initiatives. This is because of the two similar countries compared, the difference between the two is whether or not they were a colony. This then explains the difference in the values of the dependent variables, with the former colony supporting decolonization rather than the country that was not a colony. This scheme of reasoning illustrates Mill`s method of residues: it is shown that many elements of a complex effect result from multiple elements of a complex cause through reliable causal beliefs; what remains of the effect must then have been created by what remains of the cause. Notice that when we accept the truth of all the causal relationships involved, this method becomes an application of deductive reasoning. In this particular case, you are the only one who has not fallen ill. The only difference between you and others is that you didn`t have a salad.

So it is probably the cause of the other`s diseases. This is an application of the method of difference. This rule states that if you have a situation that leads to one effect and another that does not, and the only difference is the presence of a single factor in the first situation, we can derive that factor as the cause of the effect. Also simply called the “common method”, this principle simply represents the application of the methods of agreement and difference. Knowledge is expanded when we can verify or falsify a hypothesis. This is because experimental tests are designed in such a way that the hypothesis is likely to be a widespread explanation of certain facts and not an isolated case. This type of experiment is controlled, which means that experimental arrangements differ by only one variable (see Mill`s method of difference). The experimental group is the one that receives the variable, while the control group does not. The rule of Mill`s agreement states that if, in all cases where an effect occurs, there is only one earlier C factor common to all those cases, then C is the cause of the effect. According to the table in this example, the only thing you`ve all eaten are oysters. So, if we apply the rule of the agreement, we conclude that the consumption of oysters is the cause of diseases.

It is important to remember that the application of the scientific method attempts to confirm or refute a hypothesis; However, this process should always be considered partial and preliminary. The weight we attach to confirmation or rebuttal is never all or nothing. We need to gather evidence over a long period of time. When we make mistakes, they are revealed by the results of repeated experiments. Symbolically, the method of accompanying variation can be represented as (where ± represents a change): the exact determination of causes and effects is not an easy task. We can often confuse the two or misidentify it because we lack sufficient information. Mill`s methods are attempts to isolate a cause from a complex sequence of events. This situation is an example of Mill`s common method of agreement and difference: the first four students are proof that all those who got sick had eaten coleslaw, and the corresponding four couples are proof that only those who got sick had eaten coleslaw. This is a powerful combination of the first two methods, as it tends to support our idea that real causes are necessary and conditions sufficient for their effects. Unlike the previous four inductive methods, the simultaneous variation method does not involve the elimination of a circumstance.

Changing the size of one factor causes a change in the size of another factor. This is an example of Mill`s method of concomitant variation: the evidence seems to show that there is a direct correlation between the degree to which the cause occurred and the degree to which the effect occurred. This is consistent with our usual assumption that effects are generally proportional to their causes. In fact, this is a sophisticated version of the common method, in which we notice not only the occurrence or non-occurrence of the causal terms, but also the extent to which each of them took place. Mill`s methods should come as no surprise, as these rules articulate some of the principles we implicitly use in causal reasoning in everyday life. However, it is important to respect the limits of these rules. .