POL380.MAY17.docx

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Department
Political Science
Course
POL380H1
Professor
Clifford Van Der Linden
Semester
Summer

Description
SECURITY ONTOLOGY PHILOSOPHY OF (SOCIAL SCIENCE 1) - Social sciences are nomothetic o Seek to develop generalizble theories of the behaviour of actors within a system - Theories are models of reality that describe, explain and predict outcomes o Scientific theories are based on empirical observation generate models that can be tested and falsified, this is critical, never say it is absolute, a good theory should be falsifiable o A theory (T2) is superior to a competing theory (T1) when:  T2 is not falsified  T2 explains everything T1, explains AND  T2 explains things that T1 cannot explain  T2 is more parsimonious , if it can explain the same outcomes in a simpler fashion - In international relations (international security) usually compare and contrast theories - Paradigms are set of very broad assumptions to which one is deeply committed and a set of institutional practices governing the current conduct of (social science) o Specify how scientific research is conducted, and the assumptions that underline a theory o “normal science’ and routine scientific progress occur while the governing paradigm copes with apparent exceptions; period that a paradigm still applies, even if counterfactual evidence comes up the paradigm can still deal with it through its assumptions o When a new, major theory replaces an older one, a paradigm shift occurs; when a new theory comes up that disqualifies that previous one, when normal sciences stops and is reconfigured o Series of competing paradigms; realism, neo-realism, social constructivism, feminism etc. - paradigms contains bundled set of ontological assumptions, cannot empirically prove them cause it is theoretical o ontology; a systematic account of existence; or the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence or reality - we say that an agent commits to an ontology if its observable actions are consistent with the definitions in the ontology SECURITY ONTOLOGY - security as concept has been termed “essentially contested”; so laden with different assumptions/normative values/ideas that it makes it impossible to create a simple understanding - Baldwin (1997) argues the dearth of both conceptual clarity and conceptual debate around “security” in the security studies literature ; suggests that a conceptual analysis is necessary because we can’t discuss concept of security and leverage it in IC until we have decided what it is and its limits and where it ends, conceptual clarity is important the understanding of terms and how we construct/limit terms has huge ramifications for public/foreign policies, etc. o “Understanding the concept of security is a fundamentally different kind of intellectual exercise from specifying the conditions under which security may be attained.” (Baldwin 1997:8) A N
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