Liberty Round Table Essay

Liberty Round Table Essay-67
Thus even if Germany sought a war in 1914 rather than being dragged into it by its weaker ally, Austria-Hungary, political scientists can use the latter interpretation as an example of the pernicious dynamics that can be at work in a multipolar system, especially one in which a strong state has become dependent on a weaker one. The facts are pushed, pulled, and twisted to fit his fascinating argument, and this is as true of his first major book, .The ground-rules are not entirely clear here, but whatever they are, they are different from those governing historians. As wrong as he is about both cases, he not only stimulated scholars to go deeper into the material to show his errors, he also developed important ideas that may be fruitful even if they do not apply in these cases.Statistical fixes can be deployed, there is quite a bit of work on learning, and some political scientists have stressed the importance of “path-dependence”—the way in which choices and events can set enduring patterns.

Thus even if Germany sought a war in 1914 rather than being dragged into it by its weaker ally, Austria-Hungary, political scientists can use the latter interpretation as an example of the pernicious dynamics that can be at work in a multipolar system, especially one in which a strong state has become dependent on a weaker one. The facts are pushed, pulled, and twisted to fit his fascinating argument, and this is as true of his first major book, .The ground-rules are not entirely clear here, but whatever they are, they are different from those governing historians. As wrong as he is about both cases, he not only stimulated scholars to go deeper into the material to show his errors, he also developed important ideas that may be fruitful even if they do not apply in these cases.Statistical fixes can be deployed, there is quite a bit of work on learning, and some political scientists have stressed the importance of “path-dependence”—the way in which choices and events can set enduring patterns.

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We should be aware of what we are doing, however, and alert our readers of this, taking special care to point them to alternative interpretations.

Since we are often painting in broader strokes and looking for ways to explain a great deal with a relatively few factors and relationships, we can utilize understandings of history that simplify and trim it.

The basic epistemology follows John Stuart Mill in trying to determine the effect of a variable (a term that puts most historians’ teeth on edge) by comparing cases (another term that historians dislike—they are studying people, processes, and events in themselves, not as cases) in which it is present or has assumed one value with cases in which it is absent or different.

The treatment of cases themselves may be chronological, but the exercise is in service of comparisons to other cases.

I do not entirely disagree, but would reply that although we have differences in our stance towards facts and generalizations, political scientists want to develop theories that are not only parsimonious and rooted in general social science, but that shed light on (i.e., explain at least in part) events and patterns in international history.

There are important differences in style, aesthetics, and approaches, and my brief remarks can hardly do justice to all of them.

From the political science side, it seems to me that the investment and affections are a bit asymmetric in that most of us see the great importance of international history,[3] while historians draw less from political science and sometimes have the temerity to doubt the value of the discipline.

In my last year of graduate studies at Berkeley I took a fine course on European international history by the renowned Raymond Sontag.

There is a perhaps associated difference between the scholars in their stance toward facts.

I do not want to get into the difficult and important question of what exactly we mean by facts, whether they can exist independently of our interpretations, and related issues of epistemology and ontology.

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