In addition, this edition offers the best available translation of the late and important Government of Poland and the only published English translation of the fragment Constitutional Project for Corsica, which, says Watkins, provides the ...
Is methodology fruitless? Intense controversy has resulted from attempts to understand economics through philosophy of science. This collection clarifies and responds to the issues raised, arguing that methodology is an essential activity.
As rational choice theory has moved from economics into politicalscience and sociology, it has been dramatically transformed. The intellectual diffusion of agency theory illustrates this process. Agency theory is a general model of social relations involving the delegation of authority, and generally resulting in problems of control, which has been applied to a broad range of substantive contexts. This paper analyzes applications of agency theory to state policy implementation in economics, politicalscience, and sociology. After (...) documenting variations in the theory across disciplinary contexts, the strengths and weaknesses of these different varieties of agency theory are assessed. Sociological versions of agency theory, incorporating both broader microfoundations and richer models of social structure, are in many respects the most promising. This type of agency theory illustrates the potential of an emerging sociological version of rational choice theory. (shrink)
Politicalscience is divided between methodological individualists, who seek to explain political phenomena by reference to individuals and their interactions, and holists (or nonreductionists), who consider some higher-level social entities or properties such as states, institutions, or cultures ontologically or causally significant. We propose a reconciliation between these two perspectives, building on related work in philosophy. After laying out a taxonomy of different variants of each view, we observe that (i) although political phenomena result from underlying (...) individual attitudes and behavior, individual-level descriptions do not always capture all explanatorily salient properties, and (ii) nonreductionistic explanations are mandated when social regularities are robust to changes in their individual-level realization. We characterize the dividing line between phenomena requiring nonreductionistic explanation and phenomena permitting individualistic explanation and give examples from the study of ethnic conflicts, social-network theory, and international-relations theory. (shrink)
Politicalscience research, particularly in international relations and comparative politics, has increasingly become dominated by statistical and formal approaches. The promise of these approaches shifted the methodological emphasis away from case study research. In response, supporters of case study research argue that case studies provide evidence for causal claims that is not available through statistical and formal research methods, and many have advocated multimethod research. I propose a way of understanding the integration of multiple methodologies in which the (...) causes sought in case studies are treated as singular causation and contingent on a theoretical framework. (shrink)
This special issue of Human Rights Review is devoted to an exploration of the current human rights research agendas within the politicalscience discipline. Research on human rights is truly an interdisciplinary quest in which various epistemologies can contribute to each other and form a larger dialogue concerning rights and wrongs. This special issue is devoted to an expansive understanding of the state of research on human rights in the politicalscience discipline. One common theme throughout (...) these contributions is the need for a more nuanced conceptualization of human rights, tools to promote these rights and as social scientists, methodologies employed to study these rights. A second theme is the policy relevance that can be derived from our empirical analysis. This volume demonstrates that the integration of theoretically and normatively rich concepts, empirical social science, and policy relevance do not have to be mutually exclusive when studying human rights. (shrink)
Describing the methodology of a prominent mathematician can be an over-ambitious task, especially if the mathematician in question has made crucial contributions to almost the whole of mathematical science. John von Neumann’s case study falls within this category. Nonetheless, we can still provide a clear picture of von Neumann’s methodology of science. Recent literature has clarified its key feature—the opportunistic approach to axiomatics—and has laid out its main principles. To be honest, this work can hardly be superseded. What (...) I would like to do is to complete the picture by adding one more step and emphasizing a point so far neglected, namely the role of Hilbert’s ideal in von Neumann’s epistemology. Von .. (shrink)
The Oxford Handbooks of PoliticalScience is a ten-volume set of reference books offering authoritative and engaging critical overviews of the state of politicalscience. This volume, The Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis, sets out to synthesize and critique for the first time those approaches to politicalscience that offer a more fine-grained qualitative analysis of the political world. The work in the volume has a common aim in being sensitive to (...) the thoughts of contextual nuances that disappear from large-scale quantitative modelling or explanations based on abstract, general, universal laws of human behavior. It shows that "context matters" in a great many ways: philosophical context matters; psychological context matters; cultural and historical contexts matter; place, population, and technology all matter. By showcasing scholars who specialize in the analysis of all these contexts side-by-side, the Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis shows how political scientists can take those crucial contextual factors systematically into account. (shrink)
Many journals in the physical sciences require authors to submit assurances of compliance with human subjects and other research ethics standards. These requirements do not cover all disciplines equally, however. In this paper we report on the findings of a survey of perceptions of ethical and managerial problems from journal editors in politicalscience and related disciplines. Our results show that few journals in politicalscience require assurance statements common to journals for other scientific disciplines. We (...) offer some reasons for this as well as some recommendations for implementing ethical assurance safeguards for politicalscience. (shrink)
Epistemologies and research methods are not free of metaphysics. This is to say that they are both, supported by (or presumed by), and support (or presume) fundamental ontologies. A discussion of the epistemological foundations of "multimethod" research in the social sciences—in as much as such research claims to unearth "causal" relations—therefore cannot avoid the ontological presuppositions or implications of such a discussion. But though there isn’t necessarily a perfect correspondence between ontology, epistemology, and methodology, they do constrain each other. As (...) such it is possible to make methodological choices that are at odds with one’s (implicit) ontology or argue from an ontology that is inconsistent one’s choice of methods.Yet lack of recognition of this fact has hampered methodological discussions in politicalscience, especially with respect to the discussion on the merits of multimethod research. The ontology implicitly accepted in such discussions is "reductionist" and "regularist," that is, one that respectively defines causes in terms of noncausal relations and states of affair and affirms that such noncausal relations are regularities in nature. This article will argue that any attempt to fit "multimethod" research (where "multimethod" signifies some combination of inferential statistics and case studies) within this narrow ontology is destined to fail since such a metaphysics logically cannot accord case studies a necessary or sufficient role in the in the establishment of causal relations. However, there are metaphysical positions within the ambit of an empiricist philosophy of science that can accommodate multiple methods without contradiction. The article discusses two such ontologies and suggests ways in which they might allow the establishment of a coherent epistemological foundation for multimethod research, however, within a decidedly empiricist philosophy of science. (shrink)
This edition of early Greek writings on social and political issues includes works by more than thirty authors. There is a particular emphasis on the sophists, with the inclusion of all of their significant surviving texts, and the works of Alcidamas, Antisthenes and the 'Old Oligarch' are also represented. In addition there are excerpts from early poets such as Homer, Hesiod and Solon, the three great tragedians Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, the historians Herodotus and Thucydides, medical writers and presocratic (...) philosophers. Besides political theory, areas represented include early anthropology, sociology, ethics and rhetoric, and the wide range of issues discussed includes human nature, the origin of human society, the origin of law, the nature of justice, the forms of good government, the distribution of wealth, and the distribution of power among genders and social classes. (shrink)