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Lecture 1

POL208Y Lecture One (September 10th).docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Lilach Gilady

th POL208Y Lecture One Monday, September 10 2012 International Relations Theory -Scientifically study war in order to ensure war does not happen again (scientific discipline) using history case studies as examples and experiments -International Security -Nuclear Deterrence Explaining an event -Micro to macro explanations E.g. car accident problem proposed by the professor  Driver  Car  Weather  Transportation System Levels of Analysis -Most common method consisting of systematic organization of facts -Levels of Analysis are NOT a theory -Refer to J. David Singer (domestic/international, micro/macro) in reading notes -The choices of levels of analysis depend on factors such as: the questions we ask, the case, our theoretical assumptions and preferences -Levels of Analysis are not mutually exclusive (unable to be true at the same time) -We need to able to justify our choice (why choose to use this specific level rather than another?) How can we judge which level matters the most? -Through a thought experiment (counter factual thinking: imagine alternatives to reality) th E.g. Hiroshima, August 6 1945  Each explanation has a different perspective/observation  Soviet Union: Rival of United States (Bi-polar world)  Harry S. Truman was president at the time the bomb was dropped. If someone else were president would the decision to drop bomb be different?  Military personnel + cabinet  Democracy (United States government system)  Japan and its decision (Pearl Harbor) What is a theory? -A description -A tool for generating predictions/prescriptions -Falsifiable -An explanation: deduction, not simply induction -Components:  Assumption  Logic-casual 1  Prediction, hypothesis -Most theories in International Relations are deductive -Deduction: transition from data to theory requires creative imagination (reasoning from one or more general statements) -Induction: one piece of data leads to the next (reasoning that constructs or evaluates general propositions that are derived from specific examples) -Problem: What piece of data should I collect? What evidence to collect to explain war and peace? Hypothesis -If A then B -If we see A but fail to observe B, the hypothesis can be rejected and thus falsified Models -Simplify an overly complex reality -Separate important from the minor details (e.g. city volume and noise) Notes from Readings The Theory of International Politics -Alternatives to Realism have been Liberalism and Constructivism -Constructivism suggests International Relations is strongly influenced by history and social aspects rather than human behaviour or world politics -Author of this piece will argue that the fundamental cause for controversies in Realism is due to political scientists tolerating incomplete arguments -Human behaviour is, in fact, very predictable, if it were not, social organization would be impossible -Instead of being puzzled by what is not called state failure, we should be puzzled by state success, which is actually the rarer phenomenon -There are always
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