POLSCI 160 Chapter 2 Notes

POLSCI 160 Chapter 2 Notes - POLSCI 160 CHAPTER 2 NOTES:...

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POLSCI 160 CHAPTER 2 NOTES: Evaluating arguments About International Politics THEORIES AS SIMPLIFICATIONS OF REALITY Theories: Provide a prospective explanation of reality. Theory provides a simplification of reality to allow people to say what is true or not with the world as we know it. It is impossiblet o make decision only by fact. Theory always plays a role. Choosing what facts to bring to light are determined by people theories. What is a Theory? They state the expected relationship between variables. variable: A characteristic, event, idea, and so forth that can take on more than one value. constants: Characterisitcs, events, ideas, and so forth that have only one value. All theories include dependent and independent variables. Dependant variable: Something we hope to xplain. Independent Variable: Something that we think will provide us with all or part of the explanation of the different values taken on by the dependent variable. Predictions: AKA hypotheses are constituded by the relationship between independent and dependent variables. They are empirical implications drawn from the theory's logical connections between variables. Predictions serve as a way of testinga theory's explanation. Reliable explanations make it so that there must be at least some kind of reliable prediction possible. Contructing Theories Every theory has a set of assumptions. Assumptions: Specify the group of simplifying conditions under which the theory is expected to be a helpful tool for explaining and predicting the phenomena with which it is concerned. Neorealism: Theory of international politics. Explaining when the set of states in the world and the relations between them are stable or not. They assume that states are unitary actors without any internal domestic divisions or factions even though they know taht in every state there are many individuals who have a different oppinions are involved in decisions that influence international politics. Neorealists beleive that variation in opinions across decision makers is not sufficient to distort the predictions made by a theory that assumes states are unitary actors. Assumptions describe the set of conditions under which the theories predictions are expected to hold. Parsimony: The more events or facts a theory can explain with a limited set of assumptions, the more useful the theory will be. JUDGING THEORIES
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This note was uploaded on 04/22/2008 for the course PSYCH 111 taught by Professor Schreier during the Winter '08 term at University of Michigan.

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POLSCI 160 Chapter 2 Notes - POLSCI 160 CHAPTER 2 NOTES:...

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