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University of Toronto Mississauga
Political Science
Peter Loewen

Comparative Politics Study Guide: Test #1 I. What is Comparative Politics? a. Subfield of political science b. 3 Definitions: i. study of political phenomena that are predominantly within country relationships 1. diff from international politics because occurs within nations, not between nations ii. study of political phenomena in every country except the one in which the student resides iii. study of political phenomena through the comparative method c. Modern Approach- problem oriented i. State failure, cultural and economic determinants of democracy, collective action, identity politics, regime stability, institutional design, party systems ii. Ex. Democratization of Iraq II. Comparative Method- collect observations of the world and use them to identify causes of political phenomena/ search for necessary and sufficient causes a. Necessary condition- a circumstance in whose absence the even in question cannot occur i. Ex. Being at least 30 yrs old is necessary for being a US senator b. Sufficient Condition- if satisfied, guarantees the statements truth i. Ex. Not paying your rent is a sufficient condition for eviction ii. Sufficient conditions guarantee that something will happen, but there are other possible means of getting to the same outcome c. Necessary and Sufficient Condition- circumstance in whose absence the event will not occur and in whose presence the event must occur d. Mills Methods i. Method of Agreement-when the cases agree on the phenomenon to be explained 1. Whatever can be eliminated is not a cause of the phenomenon 2. If you can eliminate all but one variable, then you have the cause 3. Can critically evaluate only necessary conditions ii. Method of Difference- when the cases differ on the phenomenon to be explained 1. Requires that the phenomenon to be explained be present in one case but not the other 2. Tells us to eliminate those conditions that do not vary in exactly the same way as the outcome, whatever cannot be eliminated is the cause of the phenomenon iii. Limitations: 1. Causal processes are deterministic-always lead to the specific outcome and not randomness is involved 2. Probabilistic theories are preferable to deterministic ones- a cause that influences the probability of a specific outcome 3. Mills methods rule out interactions between causal factors (interaction effect) 4. it is not likely that political phenomena have only a single cause 5. Almost impossible to consider all of the possible causes 6. Impossible to observe all possible combos of data 7. Can tell us what happens but not why something happens (missing the process/theory) iv. Logic: in poli sci people try to convince with arguments 1. Argument: a set of logically connected statements a. Premise-statements presumed to be true in the context of an argument leading to a conclusion b. A claim thought to be supported by the premises 2. Valid- when accepting the premises compels us to accept its conclusion 3. Invalid- when we accept the premises, we remain free to accept or reject its conclusions 4. Categorical syllogism a. Major premise-typically a condition statement such as if P, then Q b. Antecedent- the if part c. Consequent- the then part d. Minor premise- claim about antecedent or the consequent of the conditional statement e. Conclusion- claim thought to be supported by the premises f. Valid arguments: i. Affirming the antecedent ii. Denying the consequent g. Invalid Arguments: i. Denying the antecedent ii. Affirming the consequent 5. Falsificationism- approach to science in which scientists generate testable hypotheses from theories designed to explain phenomena of interest a. Emphasizes that scientific theories are constantly called into question and that their merit lies only in how well they stand up to rigorous testing b. Falsifiable- potentially testable, there must be some imaginable observation that could refute it III. Politics- subset of human behavior that involves the use of power or influence a. Responses to fall in quality i. Exit- withdrew from relationshipii. Voice- attempt to repair or improve the relationship through communication of the complain, grievance, or proposal for change iii. Loyalty- no nothing/ accept relationship iv. When is behavior political? 1. Voice requires influence a. To change environment, need to change behavior of others 2. Involved when voice is considered a. Decision whether to respond with E, V, or L is a political choice v. Game Theory 1. Game-a situation in which an individuals ability to achieve his goals depends on the actions of others 2. Players- possible actions or each when her turn comes up 3. Strategy- a complete plan of action specifying what a player would do under every possible circumstance 4. Some outcome for every combo of strategies that players might choose 5. Players have preferences among the outcomes 6. Payoff Table: a normal form or strategic form game (players make choices simultaneously) a. Nash equilibrium- a set of strategies (one for each player) such that no player has an incentive to
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