I'm being asked to determine the cause of a phenomenon using Mill's methods and a table of relevant factors. Below is the table:

A    B    C    D    E    Event
*         *         *
     *    *                * 
*         *    *           *
     *              *
*              *

I'm struggling to see any "connections" in this graph, the two major ones I have found so far are: 1) C is present in both positive events 2) E is not present in both positive events

However, both of these factors are also present/not present in opposite event results. I'm assuming that I'm missing something key here. It would be very much appreciated if someone were to explain a methodology by which to solve a table like this. Thank you!

  • Is the problem any more precise? Are you supposed to find exactly one cause? Can you assume that one factor cancels another (e.g., E negates B), or that factors are irrelevant (e.g., A+D, therefore No Event)? – Mark Andrews Dec 2 '17 at 2:35
  • @MarkAndrews unfortunately not. All I am instructed to do is find "the cause of the event". For clarification, * indicates that the relevant factor or event was present. – Ben Dec 2 '17 at 3:12

Here is the best I could come up with: C is the cause, but E negates C.

This is what we know.

(A+C+D) = Event

(A+D) = No Event

(B+C) = Event

(B+E) = No Event

Those two pairs isolate C as the cause. But then there is:

(A+C+E) = No event.

If one assumes that E negates C, that premise explains the last equation and renders all five statements consistent.

For what it's worth, there is my answer. I am not happy with it. Please do post the solution when you have it.

  • This was correct, supposedly due to the joint method of agreement and difference. Thank you for the help! – Ben Dec 5 '17 at 21:44

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