Key Concepts and Questions

Key Concepts and Questions - Introduction Why We Disagree...

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-1 Introduction: Why We Disagree About International Relations Key Concepts: Constructivist Methods: Methods that pay more attention to the way that meaning is formed discursively, through language, and that see events as mutually causing or constituting one another rather than causing one another sequentially. Counterfactual Reasoning: A method of testing claims for causality by inverting the casual claim. The counterfactual of the claim “event A caused event B” is to ask, “if event A had not happened, would event B have happened?”. Ethics and Morality: Standards of good conduct for human behavior Identity Perspective: Emphasizes the importance of ideas that define the identities of actors and that motivate the use of power and negotiations by these actors. Judgment: The broader assessment of what makes sense after accumulating as many facts and testing as many perspectives as possible. Levels of Analysis: The direction, or “level”, from which different causes of international change emerge. Three types are identified here: the systemic, domestic, and individual. Liberal Perspective: Emphasizes relationships and negotiations among actors in international affairs, as well as how groups interact, communicate, and transact exchanges with one another, such as trade. Liberal perspectives tend to focus on the role of institutions in solving international conflicts. Methods: The formal rules of reason (rationalist) or appropriateness (constructivist) for testing perspectives against facts. Perspectives: Ideal type theories of explanations that emphasize one of three causes (power, institutions, or ideas) of world events over the others. Pragmatism: The idea that morality us proportionate to what is possible and that one should do what one can to uphold proper standards under present and potential future circumstances but that one should not be dogmatic. Rationalist Methods: Assume that casual factors can be disaggregated and described objectively, explaining one event by a second event occurring in sequence. Relativism: Holds that truth and morality are relative to each individual or culture, and that one should “live and let live” Universalism: Holds that truth and morality are universal; one cannot adjust moral behavior to circumstances without sliding down the slippery slope to relativism.
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Study Questions: 1. Different countries take on different perspectives. While some countries decipher international affairs from the realist perspective, some countries base analysis on the liberal perspective. Even from newspaper to newspaper, different editors will interpret events through various lenses. A country that displays ethnic conflict as front page news uses the identity perspective. The identity perspective emphasizes the roles ideas play in international disputes. In the identity perspective, differences in ideology are more important than the role of power or institutions. Thus a newspaper displaying information on ethnic conflicts sees ethnicity as the main source of international disputes. These
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Key Concepts and Questions - Introduction Why We Disagree...

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