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International Affairs
INTA 1110
Tarun Chaudhary

8/23/12 Reading for Social Science What is science? - An approach to understanding/analyzing evidence - Social scientists theorize about theory - Metatheory: theorizing about theory o Ontology – theory of existence/presence; defining the domain of the subject o Epistemology – where does knowledge end, where does it come from o Methodology – methods used in research process Is IR theory or art? Four Debates in IR - 1. Realists v Idealists (ontological debate) o Idealists wanted to make the world a better place through institutions  international relations became an academic subject  Came about after WWI o Realists rejected idealists because they believed that idealists based their ideology on what they wanted the world to be like and not what it was  Idealists are not scientific  The world works on objective laws drawn from human nature  Empirical evidence is needed for future predictions  Empirical bias – how can you observe ideas or institutions o The debate was a debate of epistemology - 2. Traditionalists v Modernists (methodology debate) o Traditionalists believed in rigorous methodologies; understanding the motivation of a decision maker o a debate on methodology o Lord Kelvin’s Dictum: “If you cannot measure it, your knowledge is meager and unsatisfactory.” o Tension between thinking of ideas and social discourses that can’t be measured o Traditionalists argued that concepts such as “power” and “national interest” cannot be measured in any easily identifiable form - 3. Paradigm Debate: Marxism v Pluralism v Realism (ontology) o Which is the dominant paradigm o A singular paradigm must be chosen for the scientific progress of IR to advance - 4. What do we actually study? Ontology - Discussion about self and existence - Definition: Theory of Being - What is the world made of and what objects do we study -
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