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Causal AnalysisThe world around us is a really messy web of causes and effects Yet we seem compelled to try to understand itWhat causes the moon to orbit the earth the low and high tides the changes of the seasonsWhat causes cancer the degenerative process of physical aging schizophreniaWhat causes economic inflation or the outbreak of wars Answers to questions like these involve making causal claimsA causal claim is an assertion about the cause of somethingA causal argument justifies or supports such a claimTesting for CausesJohn Stuart Mill 18061873 devised some methods for evaluating causal argumentsMills Methods are really just common sense and they are common in testing scientific theories1 Method of AgreementIf two or more occurrences of some phenomenon have only one relevant factor in common that factor is likely the causeThe method of agreement involves comparing situations in which the same kind of event occurs If the presence of a certain factor is the only respect in which the situations are the same that is agree then this factor may be identified as the cause of the event
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