J.S. Mill Method

J.S. Mill Method - John Stuart Mills Methods for Causal...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
John Stuart Mill’s Methods for Causal Reasoning Causation Another common variety of inductive reasoning is concerned with establishing the presence of causal relationships among events. When we have good reason to believe that events of one sort (the causes) are systematically related to events of some other sort (the effects), it may become possible for us to alter our environment by producing (or by preventing) the occurence of certain kinds of events. But what constitutes adequate evidence of causation? Although we typically use conditional statements to express our causal beliefs, the logical connective known as material implication seems to capture only a part of what we have in mind. Even regarding the cause as a necessary and sufficient condition for the effect doesn't cover all of our concept of causation. It may be that there is less here than meets the eye; David Hume pointed out that our causal beliefs are unjustifiable, even if they come naturally. The fundamental presumption behind our concept seems to be that causal connections are lawful (or at least lawlike); they involve some kind of uniformity or reqularity in the natural world. Certainly it is by observing some uniform pattern in the occurrence of events—the regular appearance of the effect following its cause—that we come to expect that the cause will invariably be followed by the effect. Mill's Methods Philosopher John Stuart Mill devised a set of five careful methods (or canons) by means of which to analyze and interpret our observations for the purpose of drawing conclusions about the causal relationships they exhibit. In order to see how each of the five methods work, let's consider their practical application to a specific situation. Suppose that on an otherwise uneventful afternoon, the College Nurse becomes aware that an unusual number of students are suffering from severe indigestion. Ms. Hayes naturally suspects that this symptom results from something the students ate for lunch, and she would like to find out for sure. The Nurse wants to find evidence that will support a conclusion that "Eating ?xxxx? causes indigestion." Mill's Methods can help. System of Logic (1843) Mill's work is not merely a logic in the limited sense of that term  which had become customary in England. It is also a theory of knowledge such as Locke 
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
and Hume provide. Mill's account is made more precise by its reference to the question  of proof or evidence. Mill formulates five guiding methods of induction the method of  agreement, that of difference, the joint or double method of agreement and difference, 
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 09/30/2011 for the course PSY 4391 taught by Professor Ginsburg during the Fall '10 term at Texas State.

Page1 / 4

J.S. Mill Method - John Stuart Mills Methods for Causal...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online