Goertz's First Law
Necessary condition hypothesis can be found for all imprtant social and political phenomena.
Goertz's Second Law
The amount of attention devoted to a concept is inversly related to the attention devoted to the quantitative measure.
What is a concept
A Concept involves a theoretical and empirical analysis of the object or phenomenon reffered to by the word.
Concepts structure and mediate our experience (apprehension) and our reflections (comprehension).
A good concept draws distinctions that are important in the behavior of the object. The central attributes that a definition refers to are those that prove relevant for hypotheses, explanations, and causal mechanisms. In a theoretical and empirical view of scienific concepts their semantics change as our understanding of the phenomenon changes.
Gortz' Way to structure Concepts?
Goertz stresses that most important concepts are multidimensional and multilevel in natur. He prefers a framework of "three-level" concepts:
- Basis Level: It is cognitively central. It is the noun to which we attach adjectives (such as parliamentary democracy or democratic corporatism). The basic level is what we use in theoretical propositions.
- Secondary Level: attributes that give the constitutive dimensions of the basic level concept. The secondary level dimensions form much of the ontological analysis of concepts. They also play a central role in causal mechanisms of various sorts (eg. civil rights, competitive elections etc for a democracy). They remain part of the theoretical edifice, but they are concrete enough to be operationalized by the 3rd level.
- Indicator/data Level: specific enough that data can be gathered, which permits us to categorizewhether or not a specific phenomenon, individual or event falls under the concept.
How can we dissect and analyze concepts?
- How many levels do they have?
- How many dimensions does each level have?
- What is the substantive content of each of the dimensions at each level?
What is the family resemblance concept structure?
The family resemblance structure contains no necessary conditions. All one needs is enough resemblance on secondary-level-dimensions to be part of the family.
What is conceptual stretching?
Conceptual stretching occurs when concepts are loosened up so that they apply to additional cases. In the philosophical literature this is the contrast between extention and intension.
What does Goertz mean when he sais "theory (concepts) should drive methodology"?
We must first think clearly about the substance and structure of our concepts and then we can begin to think aobut how to validly operationalize that theory into a quantitative measure. Since most complex concepts are three level, we need to ask aobut the degree t owhich the quantitative measure reflects the concept structure. In fact there are two structural questions:
- How to combine indicators to form the secondary-level dimensions; and
- How to combine secondary-level dimensions to get the basic-level concept.