By Rudra Sil
Whereas paradigm-bound study has generated robust insights in diplomacy, it has fostered a tunnel imaginative and prescient that hinders growth and widens the chasm among thought and coverage. during this vital new booklet, Sil and Katzenstein draw upon fresh scholarship to demonstrate some great benefits of a extra pragmatic and eclectic sort of study.
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Extra resources for Beyond Paradigms: Analytic Eclecticism in the Study of World Politics
A strong proponent of liberalism, Andrew Moravcsik (2008), has also called for de-emphasizing theoretical parsimony and ontological consistency in order to facilitate synthetic analyses featuring causal factors drawn from different theories. Moravcsik (2003, p. 132) notes: The complexity of most large events in world politics precludes plausible unicausal explanations. The outbreak of World Wars I and II, the emergence of international human rights norms, and the evolution of the European Union, for example, are surely important enough events to merit comprehensive explanation even at the expense of theoretical parsimony.
Even when it is not offering explicit policy prescriptions, eclectic scholarship should have some clear implications for some set of policy debates or salient normative concerns that enmesh leaders, public intellectuals, and other actors in a given political setting. ’ Chapter 2 elaborates on this point in the context of the ‘pragmatist turn’ in international relations scholarship. g. g. g. g. Lindblom and Cohen 1979; Nye 2009). Our conceptualization of eclectic scholarship is distinctive in that it seeks to bridge all of these concerns, linking a pragmatist orientation towards the production of useful knowledge to problem-driven research aimed at a better understanding of real-world phenomena and to mid-range causal accounts that draw upon mechanisms and processes normally analyzed in isolation within separate paradigms.
For two reasons, however, we do not believe that the problem is insurmountable. First, the incommensurability thesis is most compelling when it comes to uniform criteria for evaluating diverse theories; it is much less constraining when it comes to integrating elements from these theories. Donald Davidson (1974) and Hilary Putnam (1981) have both noted that the incommensurability thesis would be valid only if it were completely impossible to translate terms expressed in the language of one theoretical scheme into the language of another.