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POLB80; LEC01.docx

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Political Science
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international relations (all lowercase) refers to the interaction between states International Relations (uppercase I and R) refer to the disciplines of the interactions between states. Studies the study of international relations Give us a strong grounding in IR theory - Humans impose on the world particular understandings of politics of the world - Human beings who decide the separations o Ex. Continents - We construct the world in particular ways - There are alternatives o We can conceivable think of politics in different ways - Different ways of understanding the nature of the world in a general sense but more specifically in a political sense - Ontology; theory of the nature of existence o There are different ontologies o Determines what kind of knowledge can be achieved  Determined by how you perceive the world o There are distinct ontologies within things  Ex. Within science, within religion - Epistemology; theory of the nature of knowledge o Determines how one thinks about gathering or generating knowledge - Methodology; theory of the generation of knowledge - How we think of the world has a lot of trickle down effects WHAT IS THEORY - Theory explains facts - Facts are observable phenomena in the real world - Explaining why those facts exist is the challenge - Facts + Theory = Knowledge - Theories change over time o New facts could present themselves  With new facts, new sets of knowledge presented to you - Theories are a tool for when people want to understand something that is experienced in the real world o Used to make sense the complexity of the environment - Theory as a sorting tool - Social facts; we collectively tend to believe and hold as true - Physical and social facts are different o Social facts are much more readily contested  Not necessarily not true  More culturally relative  More social constructed than physical facts - With all these facts, the ones that are considered important are determined by the theory that one follows o Theories point us toward the facts that are most relevant in answering questions that we are interested in - Narrow our scopes so we know where to start looking - Theoretical innovation occurs
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