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Jasmin Hasić

This chapter addresses Boolean algebra, which is based on Boolean logic. In the social sciences, Boolean algebra comes under different labels. It is often used in set-theoretic and qualitative comparative analysis to assess complex causation that leads to particular outcomes involving different combinations of conditions. The basic features of Boolean algebra are the use of binary data, combinatorial logic, and Boolean minimization to reduce the expressions of causal complexity. By calculating the intersection between the final Boolean equation and the hypotheses formulated in Boolean terms, three subsets of causal combinations emerge: hypothesized and empirically confirmed; hypothesized, but not detected within the empirical evidence; and causal configurations found empirically, but not hypothesized. This approach is both holistic and analytic because it examines cases as a whole and in parts.


Dominik Giese and Kai-Uwe Schnapp

This chapter looks at deduction, induction, and retroduction, which are three forms of reasoning that explain observations or develop new explanations from observations, by connecting sentences to a logical structure. Deduction explains individual occurrences of a phenomenon based on general sentences (laws) and respective circumstances. Induction derives general sentences (laws) from repeated observations of similar events. Retroduction, also often referred to as ‘abduction’, is an educated guess about the likely explanation for an observation, which can then be tested. The purpose of applying these forms of reasoning to observational studies is to make logic an explicit tool that applies extant knowledge, or develops new knowledge. While deduction applies extant knowledge, induction and retroduction develop new knowledge. The basic structure of all three forms of reasoning is derived from classical syllogisms (arguments), i.e. a structure in language that combines sentences (premises) to a conclusion. The chapter then considers examples of scientific work that applies the three forms of reasoning.


14. The Committee of Permanent Representatives:  

integrating interests and the logics of action

Jeffrey Lewis

The Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) originated as a diplomatic forum to meet regularly and prepare meetings of the Council of Ministers. It quickly and quietly evolved into a locus of continuous negotiation and de facto decision-making, gaining a reputation as ‘the place to do the deal’. This reputation is based on insulation from domestic audiences and an unrivalled ability to make deals stick across a range of issue areas and policy subjects. Most importantly, Coreper spotlights the process of integrating interests in a collective decision-making system with its own organizational culture, norms, and style of discourse. In actual operation, the Committee has much to offer institutional theorizing, as multiple ‘logics’ of action are discernible and often complexly entwined.


This chapter examines the role of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) in the European Union. Coreper originated as a diplomatic forum to meet regularly and prepare meetings of the Council of Ministers. It evolved into a locus of continuous negotiation and de facto decision-making, gaining a reputation as ‘the place to do the deal’. Coreper is the site in EU decision-making where national interests and European solutions interact more frequently, more intensively, and across more issue areas than any other. The chapter first provides an overview of the origins of Coreper before discussing its structure and powers. It then considers how Coreper, as an institutional environment, gives rise to what neo-institutionalists call ‘logic of appropriateness’, which informs bargaining behaviour and influences everyday decision-making outcomes.


Paul Pennings and Hans Keman

This chapter examines the ‘art of comparing’ by showing how to relate a theoretically guided research question to a properly founded research answer by developing an adequate research design. It first considers the role of variables in comparative research, before discussing the meaning of ‘cases’ and case selection. It then looks at the ‘core’ of the comparative research method: the use of the logic of comparative inquiry to analyse the relationships between variables (representing theory), and the information contained in the cases (the data). Two logics are distinguished: Method of Difference and Method of Agreement. The chapter concludes with an assessment of some problems common to the use of comparative methods.