Thursday, September 30, 2010

R. Harrison Wagner. War and the State

R. Harrison Wagner. War and the State. Chapter 1, The Theory of International Politics.

Realists draw conclusions that do not follow from premises. Offensive Realists believe that an anarchic international community will lead to aggressions by states attempting to maintain security and promote the idea of a world government to maintain order. Defensive Realists believe that an an anarchic international community will lead to defensive military stances rather than aggression. All structural Realists agree that interstate wars will continue to occur as long as there is no world government.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Imre Lakatos. 1970. Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes

Imre Lakatos. 1970. “Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes.” In Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, edited by Imre Lakatos and Alan Musgrave, 91-195. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Parts 1, 3.0, 3a-b, 3d.0, 3d.4, and 4.

The history of science has been and should be a history of competing research program (or, if you wish, ‘paradigms’), but it has not been and must not become a succession of periods of normal science: the sooner competition starts, the better for progress. ‘Theoretical pluralism’ is better than ‘theoretical monism.’ But budding research programs should be given time to develop and compete with more established, powerful rivals. Purely negative, destructive criticism, like ‘refutation’ or demonstration of an inconsistency does not eliminate a program. 

Thomas S. Kuhn. 1970. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Thomas S. Kuhn. 1970. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2d ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Chapters 2, 4, 6-8, 12.

The transition from criticism to commitment marks the point where progress—and ‘normal’ science—begins. The idea that on ‘refutation’ one can demand the rejection, the elimination of a theory, is ‘na├»ve’ falsificationism. There can be no logic, only psychology of discovery. Anomalies, inconsistencies always abound in science; by ensuring that the paradigm will not be too easily surrendered, resistance guarantees that scientists will not be lightly distracted and that the anomalies that lead to paradigm change will penetrate existing knowledge to the core.  In ‘normal’ periods the dominant paradigm secures a pattern of growth, which is only overthrown by a ‘crisis.’ 

Karl R. Popper. 1968. The Logic of Scientific Discovery

Karl R. Popper. 1968. The Logic of Scientific Discovery, 2d ed. New York: Harper & Row. Chapters 1.0-1.1, 1-3-1.8, 3.0, 3.12, and 3.16.

Intellectual honesty does not consist in trying to entrench or establish one’s position by proving (or probabilifying) it—intellectual honesty consists rather in specifying precisely the conditions under which one is willing to give up one’s position. The history of science has been and should be a history of competing research programs/paradigms, which is good for progress.