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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Arnd Jurgensen

Levels ofAnalysis (LECTURE 1) Readings: Wagner, Harrison R. 2010. War and the State: The Theory of International Politics. The University of Michigan Press:AnnArbor, pp. 1-12 Russett, Bruce, Harvey Starr, and David Kinsella. 2000. World Politics: The Menu for Choice. Toronto: Wadsworth. pp. 3-23 J. David Singer (1960) Domestic/International Politics Micro/Macro Russett, Starr and Kinsell Individual, decision makers, government structure, society, international relations, world systems How can we judge which level matters most? Thought experiment (counterfactuals) World systems theoryhardest level to grasp System: set of interacting elements, e.g. change in elementAwill bring about changes in other elements thus changing the entire whole Structure: usually measure by the distribution of power; technology, systematic level of conflict, distribution of wealth, norms Example: multi-polarity (Concert of Europe) vs. bipolarity (Cold War) vs. unipolarity (one major power: now, US) - Some say that the US unipolarity will break down - Possible replacements include the European Union and China TWO READINGS FOR THIS WEEK: 1. Wagner, Harrison R. 2010. War and the State: The Theory of International Politics. The University of Michigan Press: AnnArbor, pp. 1(Summarized by Filsan Fadal) Since end of WWII polisci debates about relations b/w war and the states = dominated by Realism and its criticisms Prominent alternatives to Realism: Liberalism & Constructivism Debates about Realism = embroiled in controversies about game theory, rational choice theory (p. 1) Wagners argument: fundamental cause of unproductive nature of these controversies = political scientists willingness to tolerate incomplete arguments Theories, Arguments, and Explanations In valid arguments, the conclusion follows from the premises; therefore if one believes the premises one must also believe the conclusion This is called deductive reasoning If the premise(s) [are] not true, the argument would remain valid, but the conclusion false One type of logical fallacy is called affirming the consequent (p. 3) There is also inductive reasoning, and the problem of induction is to figure out what justifies an inference (p. 3) Inductive inference requires identifying explanation of the facts and supplying reasons to believe that explanation is better than others Inductive inference is aka inference to the best explanation (p. 4) Whether reasoning from premisesconclusions, or observable factspossible explanations, logical validity is necessary for our reasoning to affect our beliefs If our confidence in the premises is to translate to the conclusion, the conclusion must be implied by the premises If an explanation is to be supported by the facts, the facts must be implied by the explanation Science, Causes, Variables, and Theories Plausible definition of science: enterprise in which scholars compete in constructing nonobvious explanations of phenomena that can withstand concerted attempts to discredit them Science is more concerned with explaining regularities than identifying them Science also explains unique events, e.g. where the HIV virus came from The word theory has been used in many different ways by political scientists A theory should be an explanation from which the facts in question can be derived (p. 8) Models: Method or Madness? A model is something used to represent something else Rational choice theory is a way of constructing mathematical models of peoples choices 3 main ways explanations of human choices become so complicated that models are helpful 1. The consequences of the choices of many people may not be obvious, and may then interact with peoples subsequent choices 2. Individuals may be uncertain about the consequences of their choices, so their choices are not clearly implied by their preferences over final outcomes 3. The choices of individuals may be dependent on their expectations of the choices of others Formal models help us think clearly about IR questions No formal model can compensate for a poorly framed question Game theory is not a ready-made theory of IR 2. Russett, Bruce, Harvey Starr, and David Kinsella. 2000. World Politics: The Menu for Choice. Toronto: Wadsworth. pp. 3-23 (Laila Azizi) World Politics: Levels of Analysis. Choice and Constraint Three events: I.Dropping the Atomic Bomb - Showed tremendous killing ability - Brought upon nuclear deterrence because of the thought of mutual annihilation - Little discussion in America about it should be used in war - Alternative was to invade the Japanese homeland - No way to test out the bomb. Using it was the only option. Testing the bomb would be very dangerous. - Some viewed the A bomb as "atomic diplomacy" - Russians would be limited if the A bomb could get a surrender before the Russians attacked II. Ending the Cold War - Leader of the losing state: Mikhail Gorbachev - Gorbachev didn't try to save the Soviet Union's closest ally - Proposed deep cuts in arms and withdrew from Czech and Hungary -Assumed a defensive position - Warsaw Pact was disbanded and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance - Soviet troops would come home without a victory in Afghanistan - Soviet Union disbanded completely in 1991 - All of his changes triggered the end of the Cold War - Spread of informations across international borders - Relaxation of Soviet grip Factors for the end of the Cold War: 1. Nature of the Soviet leadership 2. Domestic political and economic decay 3. International political competition 4. Global information flows
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