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Summary Principles of Comparative Politics

- William Roberts Clark, et al
ISBN-10 1506318142 ISBN-13 9781506318141
178 Flashcards & Notes
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A snapshot of the summary - Principles of Comparative Politics Author: William Roberts Clark Matt Golder Sona Nadenichek Golder ISBN: 9781506318141

  • 2 What is science?

  • Science is the quest for knowledge that relies on criticism. Scientific statements must be falsifiable, this means:
    That they are potentially testable - there must be some imaginable observation that could falsify or refute them.
  • 2.2 The scientific method

  • The basic features of the scientific method (which describes the process by which scientists learn about the world) are:
    1. Question
    2. Theory or model = a set of logically consistent statements that tell us why the things that we observe occur. The purpose of a model is not to describe the world but to explain it. We should evaluate models in terms of how useful they are for achieving their goals.
    3. Implications (hypotheses): good models are those that produce many different implications.
    4. Observe the world (test hypotheses): examine whether the implications of the model are consistent with observations. A critical test allows the analyst to use observations to distinguish between two or more competing explanations of the same phenomenon.
    5. Evaluation.
  • 2.3 An introduction to logic

  • An argument is valid when:
    Accepting its premises compels us to accept its conclusion (and its invalid when we accept the premises of an argument but we are free to accept or reject its conclusion).
  • Four types of conditional argument can be represented with a syllogism:
    Arguments that affirm or deny the antecedent and those that affirm or deny the consequent.
  • 2.4 Testing theories

  • The comparative method, also known as Mill's method, involves:
    The systematic search for the necessary and sufficient causes of political phenomena. The comparative method comprises the Method of Agreement (compares cases that agree in regard to the phenomena explained) and the Method of Difference (compares cases that disagree in regard to the outcome to be explained).
  • 5 Democracy and Dictatorship

  • 5.2 Classifying democracies and dictatorships

  • Theories about the world are based on abstract concepts, these are:
    Mental categories or constructs that capture the meaning of objects, events, or ideas.
  • When we want to test our theoretical claims, we have to translate our concepts into concrete measures or indications that we can actually observe. A measure of indicator is:
    A quantification of the concept or thing in which we are interested.
  • 5.3 Dahl's view of democracy and dictatorship

  • A substantial view of democracy classifies political regimes in regard to:
    the outcomes that they produce.
  • A minimalist, or procedural view of democracy classifies political regimes in regard to:
    their institutions and procedures.
  • Robert Dahl (1971) believed that researches should employ a minimalist view of democracy. Dahl conceptualizes democracy along two dimensions:
    • Contestation: captures the extent to which citizens are free to organize themselves into competing blocks in order to press for the policies and outcomes they desire.
    • Inclusion: has to do with who gets to participate in the democratic process.
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