Lecture #1-An introduction to key concepts
1) Normative and empirical analysis
2) Deductive and inductive logic
3) Theories concepts
Normative and Empirical analysis
Normative is prescriptive-what people should be doing.
Empirical intends not to be descriptive and aims to factual claims about the world
around us and demonstrate the truth of these claims based on evidence.
o E.g. Gays and lesbians are more likely than hetereos to support the other of
Key difference: regardless of direction or weight of the available evidence, it seems
possible that reasonable people can disagree about normative claims.
Finally some analyses are argumentative
o E.g. poli scipresent or make an argument in papers we write.
o Either normative or empirical
o Can make an argument why people should hold certain values or you can make
an argument to try and convince them that they should believe certain facts
about the world.
Deductive and Inductive Logic
Deductive logic proceeds from a set of premises to a conclusion. In a valid deductive
argument, the premises logically entail the conclusion. What this means that it is
logically impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion to be false.
o E.g. Syllogisms (ancient Greek)
1)all whales are mammals
2) All mammals are warm blooded.
Conclusion from 1 +2) All whales are warm blooded.
o Symbolic logic
For all X (X is human and all humans are mortal
Socrates is a human
Therefore Socrates is a mortal.
Similarly, deductive theorizing moves from general theory to specific conclusions that
can be derived from the veracity of the theory.
o E.g. people are self interested (theoretical claim)
o Gays and lesbians have a greater interest in public policies to enable same sex
marriage than hetero
o Therefore, gays and lesbians are more likely than hetero to support public
policies that enable same sex marriage.
Conversely, inductive logic uses empirical factors tot develop theoretical propositions.
For this approach, theory is the output of the analysis
o E.g. Most members of union CUPE, support social policy o Therefore, union members support social policy.
Theories concepts and Variables
In the SS, we use the term “theory” to refer to explanations of observable regularities of
patterns. (social science)
Theory tell us why what we know to be true is true.
o E.g. Some people have observed that cdn political culture is more deferential
than American political culture. Canadians are more likely to favor a greater level
of government intervention than Americans. (established empirical fact is
believed to be the case)
Seymour Martin Lipset’s formative events theory suggests that this difference can be
explained by the differences in the events which led to the creation of two countries.
While the US was an outcome of a revolution against British government, the cdn state
was created peacefully.
o Therefore because of these different events that created different states,
Concepts can be thought as theoretical building blocks which we use to build theories.
Concepts are quite abstract but concrete.
o E.g. Power, Separation of power, democracy, Liberalism, left wing vs. right wing,
Broadly speaking, a variable is anything that can take on a variety of possible values. The
creation of variables is an important step toward the operationalization of a concept.
When we operationalize a concept, we provide a specific definition of it that allows us
to measure it.
o E.g. A war is any armed conflict in which any 1000 people killed in armed conflict
in a given year. (Operation definition)
Measures and indicators
A measure is a variable that has been constructed in order to operationalize a specific
o How do you measure human rights or democ