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lecture23 - Lecture 23 Mills Methods Patrick Maher...

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Lecture 23 Mill’s Methods Patrick Maher Philosophy 102 Spring 2009
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Introduction Mill’s methods are inductive methods for finding the cause of a phenomenon. They were described by John Stuart Mill, a 19th century English philosopher. There are five methods.
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Method of agreement If only one condition is common to every known occurrence of a phenomenon, then that condition is the cause of the phenomenon. Example Condition Occurrence A B C D E Phenomenon 1 * - * * - * 2 * * * - * * 3 - * * * - * * ” means present; “-” means absent. Here the method of agreement says that C is the cause of the phenomenon.
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Method of difference If a phenomenon occurs when condition C is present and does not occur when C is absent, all other conditions being unchanged, then C is the cause of the phenomenon. Example Condition Occurrence A B C D E Phenomenon 1 * - * * * * 2 * - * * - - Here the method of difference says that E is the cause of the phenomenon.
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Joint method of agreement and difference The idea: If one application of the method of agreement suggests that C causes P , and another application suggests that C causes P , then C really does cause P . The method: If C is the only condition common to every known occurrence of P , and if C is the only condition common to every known occurrence of P , then C is the cause of P . The point: The second application helps rule out the possibility that some overlooked factor is really the cause of P .
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Example Condition Occurrence A B C D E Phenomenon 1 * - * * - * 2 * * * - * * 3 - * * * - * 4 * * - * - - 5 - * - - * - 6 * - - * - - Here the joint method says that C is the cause of the phenomenon.
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Exercise
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