Download Problems and Methods in the Study of Politics by Ian Shapiro PDF

By Ian Shapiro

During this quantity the various world's such a lot fashionable students of politics provide unique discussions exploring what political technology is and the way political scientists should still aspire to do their paintings. even supposing beset by way of consistent debate approximately approach, on the middle of the examine of politics is the unifying problem to whether political scientists should still view themselves basically as scientists, or, in its place, attempt to concentration their wisdom on resolving the numerous advanced global crises at present occurring.

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Throughout American history the law has recognized explicit hierarchies based on race and gender whose effects are still very much with us. 10 10 Indeed, Smith’s argument turns out to be the tip of an iceberg in debunking misleading orthodoxy about American exceptionalism. Eric Foner (1984) has shown that its assumptions about Europe are no less questionable than its assumptions about the United States. Problems, methods, and theories in the study of politics 37 Important causal questions are to be asked and answered about these matters, but my point here is that what was thought to stand in need of explanation was so misspecified that the right causal questions were not even on the table.

The theory-driven scholar commits to a sufficient account of a phenomenon, developing a “just so” story that might seem convincing to partisans of her theoretical priors. Others will see no more reason to believe it than a host of other “just so” stories that might have been developed, vindicating different theoretical priors. ” She then looks to previous theories that have been put forward to account for these phenomena, tries to see how they are lacking, and whether some alternative might do better.

This is one thing people may have in mind when asserting that all observation is theory laden. One can concede the point without abandoning the problemdriven/theory-driven distinction, however. The theory-driven scholar commits to a sufficient account of a phenomenon, developing a “just so” story that might seem convincing to partisans of her theoretical priors. Others will see no more reason to believe it than a host of other “just so” stories that might have been developed, vindicating different theoretical priors.

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