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Lecure5Non-rational theories

Lecure5Non-rational theories - Government 40 Lecture 5...

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Government 40 Lecture 5 Non-Rationalist theories of international relations I. Introduction A. Review the rationalist assumption we discussed last week 1. Stable, ordered preferences 2. Evaluations of a range of strategies 3. Using available information B. We noted the power of this approach, but also noted that we would come back and consider why we might wish to consider what would happen if actors were not stable over time, if they did not consider all the possible strategies, and if they used some information and not other information. 1. What if people make decisions in ways that are not stable over time because of emotions. We retain our identities and our personalities over time, but emotion can and does make us do things that we would not do when not affected by those emotions. Will focus on fear and status considerations. Not the only things, but these two are very well studied, and correspond to observations that historians have made. 2. We will look at why sometimes we do not evaluate alternative strategies, but only pick one; why sometimes we disregard other strategies. In doing this, we will look at why individuals may be selective with regard to strategies, and why societies may be selective with regard to strategies. 3. We will look at why both individuals and organizations can use some information and not others. 4. Notice that I have been talking about individual decision making, organizational decision making, and societal decision making. Important to keep them separate and distinct—we cannot use theories about individuals to explain decisions by organizations and societies, and vice versa. This is the issue of levels of analysis that we discussed earlier, and also what social scientists call the aggregation problem: for a variety of reasons, you cannot jump from the observation that one person behaves in a certain way to the assumption that a group of people will behave in that way. C. By looking at emotion, the restrictions on the strategies under consideration, and the selective use of information, we can capture some of the complexity that historians have noted in their studies of international relations, without losing the
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valuable elements of theory, which include the explicit statement of assumptions, and the systematic exploration of the theories based on those assumptions. Thucydides, you will read, asserted that people act on the basis of fear, honor, and interest. Interest we can understand from the rational perspective. But why is fear different from acting rationally in response to a threat? Why is honor not simply a desire for having the most of the thing that you value? It takes some thought to sort that out. II.
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Lecure5Non-rational theories - Government 40 Lecture 5...

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