As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery,
angry Poseidon-don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
wild Poseidon-you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you're seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But don't hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you're old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you've gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
Much of the history of political science as an academic discipline has centered on a debate over how best to address and resolve these and related issues of political inquiry. Part One of this course deals with this historical development and with a general overview of what political science is like today as a discipline, as a personal career, and as an area for graduate work. In the process we will discuss a variety of dilemmas in academic life, including tensions between teaching and research, between authentic political inquiry and responsible political activism, and between the honest pursuit of knowledge and the societal and professional pressures that shape, constrain and guide this pursuit. We will also discuss general concerns about the impact of a science of politics on society at large. Then we will turn to a consideration of the epistemological issues and approaches at the heart of modern political inquiry.
Epistemology is, quite simply, the study of theories of human knowledge. Parts Two, Three and Four consider the epistemological debates and approaches that characterize modern political science. Our central concerns here will be to clarify the different theories of knowledge that predominate among political scientists; to assess the strengths and weakness of the different approaches; to identify the reasons why political analysts may pursue different forms of inquiry; to understand the systematic implications that different theories of knowledge have for our scholarly agendas and investigatory processes; and to consider the possibilities for an interplay among and synthesis of the various epistemological perspectives in our actual conduct of inquiry. In doing do we will identify two dominant epistemological perspectives in political science and several subsidiary approaches within each perspective.
Part Two of the course will look at what social scientists often call a "hard science" perspective; generally this perspective stresses logical-causal explanation of politics designed to provide predictive knowledge. Core examples will include empirically-based nomological deductive analysis and strict formal logical analysis. We also will discuss contemporary variants on "hard science epistemology" such as evolutionary, cybernetic and chaotic knowledge; these variants seek some form of formal explanation but often without (or with limited types of) prediction.
Part Three will look at "soft science" epistemology; generally this perspective stresses contextual and experiential understanding designed to provide an empathetic awareness or clarity. Core examples will include interpretivism and critical theory. We also will discuss phenomenological analysis and the possibility that the authentic search for true understanding of politics and human action may lead to an awareness that some forms of political experience are so incommensurable with our own that empathetic clarity may be limited or impossible in certain situations.
Part Four will involve a brief exploration of some of the implications that 'recursive thinking' has for the epistemological debates in political science and then will conclude with a final discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of these various epistemologies, a consideration of the possibility for informed interplay across and synthesis of differing epistemological strategies, and an assessment of their research implications.
In the end, each political scientist must make his or her own choice of epistemology, choosing among and integrating approaches as seems appropriate for different questions, intellectual goals and fields of study. It is my hope that by the end of this course you will have a more informed sense of the epistemologies that characterize political science and an awareness of how to draw on and combine these approaches to develop a satisfying analysis of politics.
It is the effort of each new generation of scholars to grapple with the issues of how best to know politics, and their invariable ability to generate new epistemological insights and approaches, that keeps political science a vibrant and lively field of inquiry. In entering the ongoing dialogue over the appropriate "logic of political inquiry" you help sustain the intellectual ferment that challenges current orthodoxy; thereby you help provide perhaps our most certain assurance that contemporary political science will not mistake momentary shadows for enduring truth. You help ensure the honest pursuit of political knowledge beyond the reach of momentary fads, insulated mindsets and entrenched powers - perhaps the greatest aspiration any of us can have as political scientists.
The required books are available for purchase at Goering's Bookstore, and as many of these as possible will be placed on reserve in the Library. Other books used in the course (with major essays in them) may also be on reserve in the Library. The required books will be primarily used in the latter two-thirds of the course. Please be aware that, should you wait until then to buy the books, you risk the possibility that the bookstore will have returned unsold copies to the publisher.
Virtually all required essays and articles for Part One of the course are available for purchase in Packet One at the University Copy Center on University Avenue; an attempt has also been made to make all readings for Part One available in the reserve room of the library or at Goerings. Assigned essays and articles later in the course also will be available both in subsequent Packets and on Library reserve. Students are encouraged to share Packets and books in order to keep costs down. On the other hand, students committed to a scholarly career in political science will want to begin now to build a professional library; the required reading of this course include a vast array of classic books and essays that could form the core of such a library.
During the course of the seminar each student will be required to give a class presentation on a topic assigned to him or her by Professor Dodd. In addition, students will be required to complete four graded paper assignments (with each paper being approximately eight to ten pages long).
First graded assignment: "What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of political science as a discipline of scholarly inquiry, and how would you change or reinforce its development, particularly in your area of special intellectual concern?" Due Monday, October 2th.
Second graded assignment: "What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of a 'hard science' epistemology for the systematic analysis of politics? Is such an epistemology sufficient as a mode of inquiry to provide you the grasp of politics to which you aspire in your scholarly career? Please explain." Due Monday, October 30th.
Third graded assignment: "What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of a humanistic or 'soft science' epistemology for the systematic analysis of politics? Is such an epistemology sufficient as a mode of inquiry to provide you the grasp of politics to which you aspire in your scholarly career? Please explain." Due Monday, November 27th.
Final assignment: Write two final eight to ten page papers on the following topics, due during finals week:
1. Write an epistemological critique of Making Democracy Work by Robert Putnam: what the book's strengths and weaknesses from the perspective of the different epistemologies discussed in this course? Is Making Democracy Work primarily an example of hard science inquiry, soft science inquiry, or a distinctive synthesis? In what ways could the book be strengthened from an epistemological standpoint? If you were given eight to ten million dollars to build on Putnam's work over the next twenty years, discuss what you would do, taking care in this response to consider the range of epistemological issues you have previously raised.
1. Identify, explain and justify your epistemology of politics. Having done so, then discuss the implications of this epistemology for your own intellectual agenda. In other words, what would you see as the scholarly puzzles most likely to fascinate you as a political scientist and what forms of inquiry and processes of investigation would seem most appropriate in light of your epistemology.
EXTRA CREDIT (UP TO ONE GRADE DIFFERENT ON FINAL EXAM):
One of the central intellectual puzzles in contemporary political science is the role of partisan realignments in American politics. Interestingly, the realignment literature also illustrates the range of epistemologies discussed in this course. Compare and contrast the knowledge about realignments generated by the different epistemological approaches (as seen in the assigned or optional essays on realignment) and discuss the ways that you believe political scientists would best study realignments in the future, given your assessment.
PART ONE: THE INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
WEEK ONE: On Being a Political Scientist: The Tradition and Development Patterns:
1. The Challenge:
Plato, The Republic, "Allegory of the Cave" Chapter XXV, pp. 227-235 in packet
1. The History:
Dwight Waldo, "Political Science: Tradition, Discipline, Profession, Science, Enterprise" in Volume One of The Handbook of Political Science in packet
John Dryzek and Stephen Leonard, "History and Discipline in Political Science," APSR, Vol. 82, #4, December, 1988.
1. The Tensions:
Gabriel Almond, A Discipline Divided, Chapters One and Two. Original articles in packet.
Essays on "The Profession" in PS: Political Science and Politics, March 1990, pp. 34-61, in packet
1. The Passion:
Daniel Lerner, The Passing of Traditional Society, Chapter One, in packet
1. The Process:
Robert Putnam, Making Democracy Work, Preface, Chapter 1, Appendix A
Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Preface and Introduction
1. The Promise:
Plato, The Republic, "The Philosopher King" and related essays, chapters XVIII-XXIII, pp. 175-220 in packet.
I. Berlin, "On Political Judgment" in New York Review of Books, Nov. 1996
John Gunnell, The Descent of Political Theory
WEEK TWO: Why Study Politics Systematically?
2. To discover unseen patterns and processes:
V. O. Key, The Responsible Electorate, Chapters 1,2,3
V.O. Key, "A Theory of Critical Elections," Journal of Politics, 17, pp. 3-18, 1995
S. Lazarsfeld, "The American Soldier," Public Opinion Quarterly, 1949.
2. To clarify thinking:
Richard Friedman, "On the Concept of Authority in Political Philosophy" in Flathman, ed., Concepts in Social and Political Philosophy
2. To explore empirical relationships:
Lyn Kathlene, "Power and Influence in State Legislative Policymaking" APSR, Vol. 88, #3, September, 1994, pp. 560-576.
2. To explain political behavior:
Robert Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation, Preface, Chapters One, Four
2. To identify unforeseen consequences:
Hardin, "The Tragedy of the Commons," Science, 162, 1968, pp. 1243-1248.
2. To understand the political self:
Alice Miller, For Your Own Good, "Adolf Hitler's Childhood," pp. 142-184.
2. To use power knowledgeably
Daniel Ellsberg, "The Quabmire Myth and the Stalemate Machine," Public Policy 19, Spring, 1971, pp. 217-274.
2. To analyze change:
Robert Putnam, Making Democracy Work: Chapter 2.
2. To comprehend, speculate, warn and predict:
Ursala Le Guin, "Introduction" to paperback edition of Left Hand of
Asimov, Foundation, pages 3-35. In packet.
WEEK THREE: Politics and Science: Activism and Inquiry
1. Max Weber, "Politics as a Vocation" and "Science as a Vocation" in From Max Weber.
1. David Ricci, "Political Science as a Profession" in The Tragedy of Political Science
1. Samuel Huntington, "One Soul at a Time: Political Science and Political Reform," APSR, 82, 1, March, 1988.
1. Donald Hanson, "The Education of Citizens: Reflections on the State of Political Science," Polity, 1979.
1. Harry Eckstein, "Political Science and Public Policy," in Regarding Politics.
1. Theodore J. Lowi, "The State in Political Science," APSR, Vol. 86, #1, March, 1992.
1. Alan Wolfe, Whose Keeper?, "Introduction"
1. Discussion of Dryzek and Leonard's APSR essay: Various authors, "Can Political Science History be Neutral?", APSR, Vol. 82, No. 2, June, 1990.
1. Stephen Jay Gould, "Spin Doctoring Darwin," Natural History, July,
1995, pp. 6-9/70-71.
WEEK FOUR: The Epistemological Dialogue in Political Science
1. Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolution; all.
1. George von Wright, Explanation and Understanding, 99. 1-33.
1. Donald Moon, "The Logic of Political Inquiry: A Synthesis of Opposed Perspectives" in Vol. 1 of The Handbook of Political Science: all. In packet.
1. Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972): Forward: Introduction; "From Versailles to Cybernetics" and particularly "Pathologies of Epistemology." In packet.
1. Abraham Kaplan, The Conduct of Inquiry, Chapter 1 on "Methodology."
1. Donald T. Campbell, "Ethnocentrism of disciplines and the fish-scale
of omniscience." In M. Sherif and C. W. Sherif (eds.), Interdisciplinary
Relationships in the Social Sciences, pp. 328-348.
WEEK FIVE: The Rites of Passage
Donald Kennedy, Academic Duty: all
Harry Eckstein, "Background" in Regarding Politics
George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language," in Orwell, A Collection
George Orwell, "Why I Write" and "Writers and Leviathan" in Orwell,
Alice Miller, "Childhood and Creativity," from Pictures of a Childhood: Sixty-Six Watercolors and an Essay. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1986. Pp. 3-27.
Gabriel Almond, A Discipline Divided, Appendix A and B.
Whitman, Selection on the stresses of graduate school, in Student Stress:
Whitman, et. al.
NOTE: DURING WEEK FIVE THERE WILL BE NO FORMAL CLASS MEETING TO DISCUSS
READINGS. INSTEAD, THERE WILL BE TWO SPECIAL REQUIRED CLASS MEETINGS.
1. DURING THE NORMAL CLASS PERIOD THERE WILL BE A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION
ADVANCED GRADUATE STUDENTS FROM THE SECOND YEAR CLASS THROUGH THE
DOCTORATE ON THEIR EXPERIENCES IN GRADUATE SCHOOL: "WHAT THEY KNOW
NOW THEY WISH THEY HAD KNOWN THEN."
2. ON AN EVENING YET TO BE DETERMINED THERE WILL BE A POTLUCK DINNER
PROFESSOR DODD'S FARM THAT ALSO WILL INVOLVE A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION WITH FACULTY MEMBERS ABOUT THEIR CAREER EXPERIENCES: HOW THEY CAME TO POLITICAL SCIENCE, WHAT THEIR GRADUATE EXPERIENCES WERE LIKE, THE NATURE OF THEIR CAREER EXPERIENCES, AND WHAT THEY NOW KNOW THEY WISH THEY HAD KNOWN THEN.
PART TWO: "HARD SCIENCE" EPISTEMOLOGIES: SEEKING PREDICTIVE EXPLANATION
WEEK SIX: Nomological-Deductive Knowledge
1. Carl Hempel, Philosophy of Natural Science: all.
1. William Riker, "The Two Party System and Duverger's Law: An Essay on the History of Political Science," APSR, 76, 1982, pp. 753-766.
1. George Henrk von Wright, Explanation and Understanding, pp. 34-82.
1. Morris Fiorina, Congress: Keystone to the Washington Establishment, Part 1
1. Rodney Hero and Caroline Tolbert, "A Racial/Ethnic Interpretation of Politics and Policy..."
Reading in an Exploratory Manner:
1. Karl Popper, pp. 133-170 in Popper Selections
1. Ted Robert Gurr, Why Men Rebel, Chapters 1, 6, and 10
1. Putnam, Making Democracy Work, Chapters 3 and 4
1. Neil Richardson, Foreign Policy and Economic Dependence, Chapter 1 and 5
1. Joshua Goldstein: Long Cycles: Chapters 8 and 9
1. M. Margaret Conway and Frank Feigert, "Motivation, Incentive Systems and the Political Party Organization:," APSR, 62, 1968.
1. "The Realignment Puzzle," W.D. Burnham, Critical Elections and the Mainsprings of American Politics, Chapters one, two and seven.
1. Watson, The Double Helix
1. A.J. Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic
1. Social Science Applications: Terry Johnson, The Structure of Social Theory, pp. 29-74.
1. W.H. Newton-Smith, The Rationality of Science
1. Campbell, J.T. and J. Stanley, "Experimental Design for Research."
WEEK SEVEN: Formal Analysis of Politics
1. Paul Diesing, Patterns of Discovery in the Social Sciences, 1971, pp. 29-133.
1. Anthony Downs, "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 65, 1957, 00. 135-150.
1. Herbert A Simon, "Human Nature in Politics: The Dialogue of Psychology with Political Science," APSR, 79, 1985, pp. 293-305.
1. Poundstone, The Prisoner's Dilemma: all
5. Mancur Olson, Power and Prosperity
6. Brian Barry, "Methodology versus Ideology: The "Economic" Approach Revisited" in E. Ostrom, Strategies of Political Inquiry, pp. 123-147.
6. Bateson, "New Conceptual Frames for Behavioral Research," in Sacred Unity, 1991.
6. Olson, The Logic of Collective Action, Chapters 1 and 2
9. The Realignment Puzzle: Dodd, "The Cycles of Legislative Change,"
Weisberg, Political Science: The Science of Politics
1. Robert Bates: Toward a Political Economy of Development: A Rational Choice Perspective
1. L.F. Richardson, "Generalized Foreign Politics," British Journal of Psychology, 1939.
1. Model Building: Charles Lave and J. March, Introduction to Models in Social Sciences
1. Brian Barry, Sociologists, Economists and Democracy, Chapters 1, 2, and 4
1. Extensions and Qualifications:
b. Milton Friedman, "The Methodology of Positive Economics"
c. Terry Moe, "On the Scientific Status of Rational Models," AJPS, 23, 1979.
d. Terry Johnson, et. al., The Structure of Social Theory, pp. 147-183.
6. Critical Assessment of Rational Choice: Green/Shapiro, Pathologies
of Rational Choice; and "Rational Choice Theory" Critical Review, Vol.
1-2, Winter, Spring, 1995.
WEEK EIGHT: Evolutionary, Cybernetic and Chaotic Knowledge
A. Evolutionary Epistemology
1. Campbell, Donald: "Evolutionary Epistemology" in Gerhard Radnitzky and W.W. Bartley, III., eds., Evolutionary Epistemology, Rationality, and the Sociology of Knowledge: Open Court, 1987, pp. 47-89; see also Karl Popper's response in Chapter Four.
1. Riker, William, Liberalism Against Populism, Chapters 8,9: W.H. Freeman Press, 1982.
B. Cybernetic Perspectives
1. Gregory Bateson, "The Cybernetics of Self" and "Form, Substance and Difference" in Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Ballantine, 1972; review "From Versailles to Cybernetics" and "Pathologies of Epistemology." For an application of Bateson, see Dodd, "Congress, the Executive and the American Experience," in James Thurber, Divided Democrary, Congressional Quarterly, 1991.
1. G. Hardin, "The Cybernetics of Competition: A biologist's view of society." Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 1963.
A. Chaos Theory
1. James Gleick, Chaos: Making a New Science, Viking, 1987, pp. 1-80.
1. James Rosenau, Turbulence in World Politics, Princeton University Press, 1990. Pp. 3-113.
1. The Realignment Puzzle: Carmines and Stimson, "Issue Evolution, Population
Replacement, and Normal Partisan Change." APSR, Vol. 75, 1981.
WEEK NINE: Assessing Hard Science Epistemologies
1. Debate from American Journal of Political Science, 1992/1994. Dischoping and Schuman/Anderson/Dischoping and Schuman/Booth.
1. Larry Hedges, "How Hard is Hard Science, How Soft is Soft Science?" May, 1987. American Psychologist, pp. 443-454.
1. David Braybrooke, Philosophy of Social Science, Prentice-Hall, 1987. Chapters 1 and 2.
1. Fiorina, Keystone, Part Two.
1. Wickham-Crowley, "Winners, Losers and Also-Rans," Chapter Three in
Power and Popular Protest in Latin America, ed. by Susan Eckstein.
PART THREE: 'SOFT SCIENCE' EPSITEMOLOGIES: PURSUING EMPATHETIC CLARITY
WEEK TEN: Interpretation and Politics
1. Clifford Geertz, "Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture."
1. Charles Taylor, "Interpretation and the Sciences of Man."
1. J.D. Schwartz, "Participant and Multi-Subjective Understanding: Journal of Politics, Vol. 46, 1984, pp. 1117-1141.
1. Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Campitalism. All
1. Georg Henrik von Wright, Explanation and Understanding, pp. 83-167.
1. Richard Fenno, Homes Style: House Members in Their Districts, Intro., Chapters 1-4, Epilogue
1. Barry Schwartz, The Battle for Human Nature, Norton, 1986, Chapters, 1,2, and 8.
1. The Realignment Puzzle: Karl Lamb, As Orange Goes: particularly
Preface, Chapters, 1,2, 3 and 10.
1. Anthony Pagden, European Encounters with the New World: Intro., Chapters 1 and 2
1. Putnam, Making Democracy Work, Chapter 5
1. Goran Hyden, Beyond Utamaa in Tanzania: Underdevelopment and an Uncaptured Peasantry.
1. Donald T. Campbell, "'Degrees of Freedom' and the Case Study," in Comparative Political Studies, vol. 8,2, 1975, pp. 178-193.
1. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities
1. Terry Johnson, et.al., The Structure of Social Theory, pp. 73-113.
1. R. Bernstein, Beyond Objectivism and Relativism
1. Georgia Warnke on Gadamer
WEEK ELEVEN: Critical Theory and the Uses of Knowledge
1. Alexander Rosenberg, Philosophy of Social Science, Chapter 7: "Shall We Commit a Social Science?"
1. Jergen Haberman, "Legitimation Crisis" from Communication and the Evolution of Society, Beacon Press, 1979, pp. 178-206.
1. Karl Marx, "Theses on Feuerbach" in Critique of Hegel's 'Philosophy of Right', Cambridge, 1970, edited by O'Malley.
1. Virginia Held, "Mothering vs. Contract" in Beyond Self-Interest, edited by J. Mansbridge. (Review Lyn Kathlene's article, APSR, Sept. 1994)
1. Alan Wolfe, Whose Keeper, all
1. Leslie Thiele, "Heidegger on Freedom: Political Not Metaphysical." APSR, Vol. 88, #2, 6/94.
1. Terry Ball and James Farr, After Marx, Cambridge University Press, 1984, Chapters 10 and 11.
1. Pagden, European Encounters, chapter 3
1. Brian Fay, Social Theory and Political Practice, all***
1. Cardoso and Faletto, chapter II from Dependency and Development in Latin America.
1. Berryman, Chapter two from The Religious Roots of Rebellion.
1. The Realignment Puzzle: Thomas Ferguson, Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money Driven Political Systems, Introduction, Chapter 16, Conclusion and Postscript.
James Hillman, Healing Fiction, Part one
David Held, Introduction to Critical Theory, pp. 296-329.
W.G. Runciman, Social Science and Political Theory
WEEK TWELVE: Phenomenological Knowledge and the Openness of History
1. Eugene Gendlin, Introduction to Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning, pp. 1-43, Free Press, 1962.
1. Maurice Natanson, "Phenomenology and the Social Sciences" in Phenomenology and the Social Sciences, vol. 1, Northwestern University Press, 1973, pp. 3-46.
1. Hwa Yol Jung, "A Critique of the Behavioral Persuasion in Politics: A Phenomenological View," in Phenomenology and the Social Sciences, Vol. 2, Northwestern University Press, pp. 133-174.
4. Berger, Social Construction of Reality: all
5. Ido Oren, "The Subjectivity of the Democratic Peace" on reserve.
6. Anthony Pagden, European Encounters, all
7. Murray Edelman, "The Social Psychology of Politics," in The Dynamics
American Politics, Dodd and Jillson, eds., Westview Press, 1994.
8. Alice Miller, "Poisonous Pedagogy" in For Your Own Good, 1990.
9. Peter Winch: The Idea of a Social Science: all
10. Putnam, Making Democracy Work, Chapter 6: how aware does
Putnam appear to be of the possibility of learning, social construction
and reconstruction of reality, moving beyond path dependencies, and his
11. Barry Smith and David W. Smith, eds., Husserl, Introduction, Chapters 1,2
12. The Realignment Puzzle: Byron E. Shafer, The End of Realignment?, Preface, Chapters one and two; Peter Nardulli, "The Concept of a Critical Realignment, Electoral Behavior, and Political Change," APSR, Vol. 89, No. 1, March, 1995.
James Hillman, Healing Fiction, Part two
Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind, Part VI,
"The Transformation of the Modern Era."
WEEK THIRTEEN: Assessing "Soft Science" Epistemologies
1. A.O. Hirschman, "The Search for Paradigms as a Hindrance to Understanding," World Politics, 22, no. 3, March 1970.
1. Vaclav Havel, "The End of the Modern Era," Sunday New York Times, March 1, 1992, Op-Ed page.
1. Braybrooke, Philosophy of Social Science, Chapters 3,4 and 5
1. Max Black, Models and Metaphors, Cornell University Press, 1962, "Models and Archtypes," pp. 219-243.
1. James Farr (1985) "Situational Analysis: Explanation in Political
Science," Journal of Politics, Vol. 47, 1085-1107.
PART FOUR: FINAL ASSESSMENTS
WEEK FOURTEEN: Thinking Recursively: Epistemology in a World of Learning
Robert Jervis, System Effects
WEEK FIFTEEN: Evaluating, Combining, and Using Epistemologies
1. Abraham Kaplan, TheConduct of Inquiry, Chapters 1, 4 and 10
1. Donald Moon, "The Logic of Inquiry," review
1. Imre Lakatos, "Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes" in Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, Lakatos and Musgrave, eds., Cambridge University Press, 1970.
1. Putnam, Making Democracy Work: review all.
1. W.G. Runciman, Social Science and Political Theory, Chapters One and Eight
1. Goran Hyden, "Governance and the Study of Africa," in Governance and Politics in Africa, edited by Hyden and Bratton. See also the preface.
1. Terrence Ball, "From Paradigms to Research Programs: Toward a Post-Kuhnian Political Science," AJPS, 20, 1, 1976.
1. David Braybrooke, Philosophy of Social Science, Chapter 6
1. Lawrence Dodd, "Political Learning and Political Change" in Dodd and Jillson, eds., The Dynamics of American Politics, 1994; and "The Electoral Consequences of Presentational Style," 1990.
1. Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind, Epilogue.
1. Mark Warren, "Democratic Theory and Self-Transformation," APSR, Vol. 86, March, 1992.
1. The Realignment Puzzle: The End of Realignment?, Chapter five; Burnham, "Pattern Recognition and "Doing" Political History" in The Dynamics of American Politics; Burhman, "Realignment Lives: The 1994 Earthquake and Its Implications" in Colin Campbell and Bert Rockman, The Clinton Presidency: First Appraisals, Chapter 12.
Week Six: Nomological Deductive Analysis
1. General report __________________________________
2. Riker _________________________________________
3. Gurr __________________________________________
Week Seven: Formal Analysis
1. General report __________________________________
2. Downs ________________________________________
3. Simon ________________________________________
Week Eight: Evolutionary, Cybernetic and Chaotic Knowledge
1. Evolutionary Epistemology _________________________
2. Cybernetic Perspectives ___________________________
3. Chaos Theory ___________________________________
Week Ten: Interpretation and Politics
1. General report __________________________________
2. Weber _________________________________________
3. Schwartz _______________________________________
Week Eleven: Critical Theory
1. General report ___________________________________
2. Habermas ______________________________________
3. Wolfe __________________________________________
Week Twelve: Phenomenological Knowledge
1. General report ____________________________________
2. Pagden _________________________________________
3. Berger __________________________________________
Week Fourteen: Recursive Thinking
1. General report ____________________________________
As noted in the "Seminar Objectives," this is a course on political epistemology, that is, on the logic by which we "know" what we know. The scholarly debate over epistemology revolves around a central question: does one know because one can subsume an empirical argument in hypothetical form under a general nomological theory (explanation, in von Wright's terms); or does one know because one can place an argument into a meaningful narrative (understanding, in von Wright's terms)? Or is political knowledge perhaps most compelling when we can approximate both? In other words, perhaps we are most convinced that we "know" what we know when we can both subsume an argument under a more general theory and also support the argument with a narrative that demonstrates how it makes meaningful sense in the specific cases under study. An illustrative effort to integrate explanation and understanding is provided by Putnam's Making Democracy Work, one of the core books in the course.
In exploring the issues of epistemology, the course introduces students to the primary contemporary approaches to explanation (nomological hypothesis-testing and formal modeling) and to understanding (interpretivism and critical theory). The most compelling aspect of the two primary approaches to explanation is their capacity to predict; the most compelling aspect of the two primary approaches to understanding is their ability to provide empathetic clarity.
The course also considers some of the paradoxes of recent epistemological theory; explanations whose primary discovery is the limits of prediction (as in Chaos Theory, as illustrated by Gleick) and understanding whose primary conclusion is the possibility that empathetic awareness is limited or impossible in particular settings (as in variants of historical phenomenology, as illustrated by Pagden).
a. The limits of explanatory prediction and empathetic awareness underscore
the need for humility in social science analysis and for continued attentiveness
to the epistemological standing of empirical arguments.
b. Such limits also highlight the need for close attention to the philosophical issues that inform personal choice and responsibility.
c. Most critically, as we consider the limits of traditional epistemologies, we turn attention to other ways to think about 'knowing' and in doing so consider the epistemological strategies most appropriate to a 'recursive world, that is a world of learning, in which the object of learning is to move beyond past patterns of behavior. If we can not predict, because learning makes the future different from the past, and we cannot understand, because we are living in a new world distinct from past experiences, how then do we know that we know? This will be
a concern of Part Four of the course.
A secondary theme of the course is the distinction between epistemology and technical methods. Whereas epistemology looks at the logic of knowing, methods provide tools whereby we seek to discover and verify particular empirical "facts." Specific methods - such as statistics, participant observation and field work, historical case studies, formal modeling, computer simulations, archival research - can be employed in the search for "facts" by scholars devoted to explanation ( so that Fiorina employs participant observation field work in Keystone and Rosenau employs historical case examples in Turbulence) and by scholars focused on general understanding (so that Weber in the Protestant Ethic and Fenno in Home Style both employ statistical data).
Scholars focused on "hard science" explanation as their primary concern can nevertheless use "qualitative" methods as part of their investigatory repertoire; and those concerned with "soft science" understanding may well find that "quantitative" methods may be useful to them.
From an epistemological standpoint, the central issue in inquiry is the awareness, clarity, precision and appropriateness with which a scholar develops his or her theoretical analysis, rather than his or her particular choice of method: does the scholar assess empirical observations in terms of nomological theories of explanation (as in Hardin's collective action arguments) idiographic theories of understanding (as in Weber's Protestant Ethic), or some systematic combination? As this questions implies:
a. Students engaged in systematic political inquiry should be aware
of the differences that distinguish nomological, idiographic and synthetic
b. they should seek a familiarity with the nature and range of such orientations in the social sciences;
c. they should be attentive to the limits and strengths of such theoretical orientations and their appropriateness to different puzzles, contexts and scholarly goals;
d. they should develop a capacity to draw on and construct nomological, idiographic and synthetic theories in ways appropriate to their particular scholarly endeavors; and
e. they should develop the research skills relevant to exploring, probing and testing their theories.
As this overview makes clear, then, the course raises a variety of epistemological issues that surround systematic inquiry. In the process, the course seeks to make clear to students why methods and theory are both of critical importance in systematic inquiry. It is not a course in theory and methods, however, but rather a foundation course (or bridge course) into the systematic use of theory and methods. As such it seeks to alert students to the epistemological issues that they confront as they craft their theoretical and methodological strategies. In the process it seeks to generate an awareness of epistemological choice and thereby hopes to induce a broadly informed approach to political inquiry. It also seeks to acknowledge the limits of empirical knowledge and the ultimate responsibility that individuals and groups must take for their own choices and actions in the world-a world where praxis operates in a realm beyond scientific truth.
Writing Hints for Papers
I. Principles for Composition
1. Be clear about your topic.
1. Choose a suitable design.
1. Reassess and transform the design as necessary.
1. Make the paragraph the unit of composition.
1. As a rule, begin each paragraph with a sentence that suggests the
topic or with a sentence that helps the transition.
1. Break long paragraphs in two, even if it is not necessary to do so
for sense, meaning or logical development, if it would be a visual help
to the reader.
1. Use the active voice.
1. Put statements in positive form; consciously or unconsciously, the
reader is dissatisfied with being told only what is not; he or she wishes
to be told what is. It is better to express even a negative in positive
1. Save the auxiliaries would, should, could, may, might, and can for
situations involving real uncertainty.
1. Use definite, specific, concrete language.
1. Omit needless words.
1. Avoid a succession of loose sentences.
1. Express coordinate ideas together.
1. Keep related words together: the subject of a sentence and the principle
verb should not, as a rule, be separated by a phrase or clause that can
be transferred to the beginning.
1. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end.
1. In summaries, keep to one tense.
1. In the conclusion, address the original topic in a manner that integrates
and completes your argument.
II. Stylistic Hints
1. Start by writing in the first person (Call me Ishmael) even if you
later rewrite the essay to drop the first person tense.
1. Do not make you or your personality the central focus of the essay;
use a first person approach to establish rapport with the reader and to
stimulate his or her interest in the storyline or subject.
1. Write in a way that comes naturally.
1. Use your outline or design as you write; reassess it and systematically
restructure it if necessary.
1. Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs. It is
nouns and verbs, not their assistants (adjectives and adverbs) that give
to good writing its toughness and color.
1. Revise and rewrite.
1. Revise and rewrite again.
1. Use scissors on your manuscript, cutting it to pieces and fitting
the pieces together in a better order, if doing so will make the essay
clearer and more logical.
1. Use your pencil to shorten sentences and paragraphs.
1. Do not overwrite. Rich, ornate prose is hard to digest.
1. Do not overstate. If you do, the reader will lose confidence in everything
that you write.
1. Avoid the use of qualifiers, such as rather, very pretty and little.
1. Do not affect a breezy manner, ("Well, chums, here I am writing another
essay for the good ole professor.")
1. Use orthodox spelling (night rather than nite, etc.).
1. Do not explain too much.
1. Do not construct awkward adverbs (do not write tangledly, for example).
1. Avoid fancy words: the question of ear is vital. Write in a way that
sounds natural, rather than pompous or pretentious.
1. Be clear; when you become hopelessly mired in a sentence, it is best
to start fresh; do not try to gith your way through against the terrible
odds of syntax. Usually what is wrong is that the construction has become
too involved at some point; the sentence needs to be broken apart and replaced
by two or more shorter sentences.
1. Respect your reader: No one can write decently who is distrustful
of the reader's intelligence, or whose attitude is patronizing.
III. Criteria for Evaluation
1. Grammar and phrasing
1. Logic/Reasoned Argument
1. Creativity and imagination
IV. Recommended Reading:
William Struck and E.B. White, The Elements of Style
H. Becker, Writing for Social Scientists
Always have available a good dictionary, a thesaurus and a book of synonyms.