Samford Debate Institute 2010
Strike Force Alpha
Predictions Frontline (1/3)
Alternative doesn’t solve: Rejection of prediction dooms all policymaking
(Fred, Prof. of Political Science at Colgate The Power Of International Theory
, p. 215)
Various IR theorists have also argued against prediction
For example, Donald Puchala contends that IR theory ‘does not,
because it cannot in the absence of laws…invite us to deduce, and it does not permit us to predict’ (Puchala 1991: 79).
reflectivist IR theorists like Ashley (1986), Onuf (1989), Walker (1993) and others, following the lead of critical theorists and prediction-sceptic
philosophers of social science, argue that IR theory (discussed in Chapter 3) is able to facilitate an interpretive understanding of events and deny
that IR theory is capable of prediction or scientific-style explanation.
Even though many of these authors hope that IR theory
can lead to ‘human emancipation’, their meta-theory undercuts its ability to do so.
This trend in the
theoretical literature in IR severs the link between IR theory and any significant ability to aid policy-
makers to bring about emancipation or any other foreign policy goal.
If they do not leave room for
rationally grounded expectations about the future, that is, scientific-style prediction, then it will be
impossible to formulate policies that can be expected to achieve various aims, including the emancipation
of oppressed groups.
Without the ability to say that a given action option has a higher probability than
any of the other options of achieving the objective, e.g., a greater degree of emancipation of the target
group, these theorists cannot recommend courses of action to achieve their desired goals.
The loss of this
essential capability has been largely overlooked by constructivsts and reflectivists in the IR literature.
All policy decisions are
attempts to influence or bring about some future state of affairs.
Policy-making requires some beliefs
about the future
, whether they are called ‘expectations’, ‘predictions’, ‘forecasts’ or ‘prognostications’.
The next step in the argument is to
show how such beliefs can be justified.
Perm: Do the plan while creating emergencies plans in case of an incorrect prediction
Predictions can still work even if we acknowledge that it is impossible to know the future
100% of the time.
(Fuyuki, Assistant Professor of Sociology at York University.
“Cautionary tales: The global
culture of prevention and the work of foresight”.
, 11:4, p. 458-459)