Political Science 2231E Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Jon Runyan

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Lenses = Theories
Theories = Lenses help us bring some things into focus and can blur others -- even eliminate them
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Anne Runyan & Spike Peterson
Brings together a set of assumptions, ideas, propositions that are relevant… these organize facts,
ideas, events, and explanations
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Created from experience, formulas, or imagination
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What is a Theory?
Our explanations
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What we can see, understand, and conduct analysis
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Theories provide context for:
For someone (audience) [Cox]
1.
For some purpose (goal, message for audience, action) [Cox]
2.
By someone (author) [Nig] -- drawn from feminists
3.
Theories are always:
Machiavelli = art -- duality, multi-theoretical
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Weber = science -- as a knowledge, find out the irrefutable laws
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ALL IR is written from some theoretical approach BUT is IR a "science" or an "art"?
Meta Theory = interrogating a theory -- what are the assumptions? Why those assumptions?
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Ontology = theory of being -- what objects, categories, subjects of study are important?
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Epistemology = theory of knowledge -- what can we know? What counts as knowledge?
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Methodology = data, evidence, proofs, cases - what methods or tools for validating or invalidating
knowledge?
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Claims to Tradition = past scholars or authors who give the approach continuity, salience, depth,
etc..
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Elements of All Theories:
Lecture 1 - IR Theories
September-19-12
12:00 PM
POLITICS 2231E Page 1
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