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Lecture 2

Week 2 17 Sept .odt

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Political Science
Kim Rygiel

How do we discover informations about the worlds? Methods community of blind man hears that an elephant is coming three men go to find knowledge on this elephant one touches leg one touches ear and one touches the tusk. The man that described the leg says its a pillar that rough and soft. Second says its like a post that isn’t smooth third says that is is more like leather. Theory “a theory is some kind of simplifying device that allows you to decide which facts matter and which do not (Baylis, Smith and Owen p. 3) “No one sees the world just 'as it is'. All of us look at the world through a veil of theories, presuppositions and assumptions. In this sense, observation and interpretation are inextricably bound together; when we look at the world we are also engaged in imposing meaning on it. This is why theory is important: it gives shape and structure to an otherwise shapeless and confusing reality” (Heywood 2011, 53) “But, it being my intention to write a thing which shall be useful to him who apprehends it, it appears to me more appropriate to follow up the real truth of the matter than the imagination of it; for many have pictured republics and principalities which in fact have never been known or seen, because how one lives is so far distant from how one ought to live, that he who neglects what is done for what ought to be done, sooner effects his ruin than his preservation; for a man who wishes to act entirely up to his professions of virtue soon meets with what destroys him among so much that is evil.” -Machiavelli, Chapter XV Problem-Solving -Take the world as given, seek to explain it, make it work better -status-quo -positivist, empiricist -speak to power – connected to policy making Critical Theories -Focus on not just explaining but understanding why the world is the way it is -ask how the world got to be the way it is and how we can change it -world is how we make it -post-positivist, constructivist -”Theory is always for someone and for some purpose. All theories have a perspective. Perspectives derive from a position in time and space” (Robert Cox) The Realist Perspective (or Power Politics -Lord of the Flies, 1963 film of 1954 book by William Golding -Realism: “a school of international relations that focuses on power, security and state interests” (42, textbook) -Power: zero-sum and relative: one actor's gain is by definition equal to the other's loss, physical, resources or capabilities (42). Key concepts of realism -Egoism: Pessimistic view of human nature: human nature is selfish, greedy, competitive -St
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