IR Notes Lecture 1

IR Notes Lecture 1 - IR Notes Lecture 1 January 16, 2007 I....

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IR Notes Lecture 1 January 16, 2007 I. The Theory and Practice of International Relations a) What is theory and how do we assess what are good or bad theories? i) 2 types (1) Normative: theoretical arguments about how something should be (a) Ex. Might address “Should states militarily intervene in genocidal situations?” (2) Positive: attempts to explain things as they actually are in the world (a) Ex. “Why do states sometimes intervene in genocidal situation and not in others?” (b) A general statement that explains the causes and effects of a class of phenomena—identify the causal factors accounting for variation in outcomes ii) Explain relationship b/w independent and dependent variable (1) Variable is something that interests us that varies (a) We want to understand why they vary (2) Dependent variable is an outcome to be explained which varies (a) War is dependent variable, theories on the causes of war tries to explain this with an independent variable—something that’s causal (b) Independent variable here may be regime type iii) Causal Mechanism (1) If you say democracies don’t’ fight wars against each other, you should ask “Why” and the answer is the causal mechanism or causal logic (2) Explains why x causes y (3) x causal mechanism y iv) Theory composed of a hypothesis: a conjectured relationship b/w two phenomena (if democracy, then peace) v) Theory: A causal hypothesis together with an explanation of the causal logic (1) Ex. Democracy causes peace because democracy creates a norm of peaceful resolution among democracies that fosters peace vi) We look at theories in terms of (1) Logic: does it make logical sense (2) Evidence: look at what we can find to confirm or invalidate the theory vii)A good positive theory should do 4 things (1) Descriptive: give a good sense of what’s going on in real world (2) Explanatory (3) Predictive: given certain conditions, what will happen in the future (4) Prescriptive: prescribe certain changes you should follow if you want to affect a certain outcome b) 3 different views of understanding int’l relations
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This note was uploaded on 03/12/2010 for the course GOVT 006 taught by Professor Wallander during the Spring '08 term at Georgetown.

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IR Notes Lecture 1 - IR Notes Lecture 1 January 16, 2007 I....

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