Professor Lawrence D. Dodd
University of Florida
Fall, 2000

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As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery,
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
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.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
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.

                                    ---C.P. Cavafy*

Seminar Objectives

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to political science as a discipline of systematic inquiry.  At least since Plato presented the allegory of the cave, analysts have realized that the perceived events of politics do not always mean what we initially think they mean – that one of the truly daunting tasks of political analysis is “knowing” that we really know what we think we know.  Analysts have also realized that the process of knowing itself may be fraught with very real dangers and dilemmas.  These include, among others, the possibility that the sustained pursuit of political knowledge could so challenge existing societal beliefs and norms that it would produce widespread discontent and even fuel hostility towards the process of knowing; they also include potential tensions between a commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and a desire to act on knowledge.

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. These dilemmas include tensions between teaching and research, between authentic political inquiry and responsible political activism, between qualitative observation and quantitative measurement of political phenomena, 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.

a.     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.

b.     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.

c.     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.

Seminar Readings

    As an introduction to the logic of political inquiry, the reading for POS 6716 is necessarily very heavy.  The professor will make every effort to clarify the nature of assignments and has structured the core of the course around class presentations in a way that will facilitate student mastery of the broad range of issues raised by the reading.  The ultimate success of the seminar, however, depends on the willingness of the students to make a good faith effort at reading all assigned material and entering wholeheartedly into class discussions.  The final course grade will reflect the quality of involvement in class discussions.  Students interested in an early overview of the ‘logic’ of the course should read Donald Moon’s essay, “The Logic of Political Inquiry” in The Handbook of Political Science (essay is in the packet).

The required books are available for purchase at Goering’s Bookstore (and one at, and all are 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.

The required books are as follows:

Kristen Monroe, editor, Perestroika! The Raucous Rebellion in Political Science, Yale U.
Press, 2005
Robert Putnam, Making Democracy Work, Princeton U. Press, 1993
Charles F. Gattone, The Social Scientist as Public Intellectual
Jonathon W. Moses and Torbjorn L. Knutsen, Ways of Knowing
Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolution
Bent Flyvbjerg, Making Social Science Matter
Carl Hempel, Philosophy of Natural Science
Morris Fiorina, Congress: Keystone to the Washington Establishment
Adam Przeworski, Democracies and the Market
George E. Marcus, Russell Neuman and Michael B. MacKuen, Affective Intelligence and  
Political Judgment
Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
Dennis Galvan, The State Must Be Our Master of Fire
Berger, The Social Construction of Reality
Anthony Pagden, European Encounters with the New World: Available in the Library and at
Robert Jervis, System Effects
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.

Seminar Assignments

Your first assignment is to write a five page double spaced thought paper, which will be ungraded, on “Why I came to Graduate School in Political Science.”  These papers will be due in Professor Dodd’s mailbox in 234 Anderson Hall, or by email, no later than Friday, September 12th, 5pm.

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, double-spaced):

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 Friday, Oct. 3, 5pm.

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 Friday, October 31, 5pm.

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 Friday, November 28, 5pm.

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 are 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 $100.000 to build on Putnam’s work, discuss what you would do, taking care in this response to consider the range of epistemological issues you have previously raised.

2.     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 epistemological orientation.

Reading Assignments

Attached is a copy of the reading assignments and presentation topics for this class.  In Parts Two, Three and Four, “Close or Required Reading” provides the core arguments/illustrations for the week’s discussion.  Read this material closely. “Reading in an Exploratory Manner” provides important additional material that you can explore if certain issues attract your fancy during the week. “Recommended Reading” provides guidance for future work on these topics.

WEEK ONE: On Being a Political Scientist:  The Tradition and Development Patterns:

Required Reading:

1.     The Challenge:

Plato, The Republic, “Allegory of the Cave”  Chapter XXV, pp. 227-235 in packet

2.     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. Use J-Stor for articles in journals

3.     The Tensions:

Gabriel Almond, A Discipline Divided, Chapters One and Two.  Original articles in packet.  
Kristen Monroe, Perestroika!, pages 1-11.

4.     The Passion:

        Daniel Lerner, The Passing of Traditional Society, Chapter One, in packet

5.     The Process:

Robert Putnam, Making Democracy Work, Preface, Chapter 1, Appendix A. Reserve/Bkst
Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Preface and Introduction. Reserve

6.     The Relevance:

        V. O. Key, Southern Politics, “Introduction,” and surf book: On Reserve
        Rodney Hero, “Social Capital and Racial Inequality in America,” in Perspectives on
             Politics,” #1, March 2003, pp. 113-122.

6.     The Promise:
Plato, The Republic, “The Philosopher King” and related essays, chapters XVIII-XXIII, pp.
     175-220 in packet.
Isaiah Berlin, “On Political Judgment” in New York Review of Books, Nov. 1996
Recommended Reading:

        John Gunnell, The Descent of Political Theory
        Perestroika!, Parts 3,4, 5 and Chapters 34, 35, 38, 39

    One page email thought question: What is your initial image of political science, based on these
readings? Email thought questions are to be sent to Professor Dodd and all class members on the
Monday before class, by 5pm.  

WEEK TWO:  Why Study Politics Systematically?

Required Reading:

1.    To discover unseen patterns and processes:

        V.O. Key, “A Theory of Critical Elections,”  Journal of Politics, 17, pp. 3-18, 1995
        Walter Dean Burnham, “Revitalization and Decay,” Journal of Politics 38 (August,
               1976): 146-72.

2.   To explain political behavior:

        Robert Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation, Preface, Chapters One, Four-Reserve

3.    To identify unforeseen consequences:

        Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science, 162, 1968, pp. 1243-1248. Packet

4.      To understand the political self:

        Alice Miller, For Your Own Good, “Adolf Hitler’s Childhood,” pp. 142-184. On Reserve

5.     To use power knowledgeably

Daniel Ellsberg, “The Quagmire Myth and the Stalemate Machine,” Public Policy 19, Spring, 1971, pp. 217-274. Packet

6.      To gain cultural and developmental perspective

        Bellah, Habits of the Heart, Chapters 1 and 2. On Reserve/Bookstore
        Robert Putnam, Bowling Alone, TBA. On Reserve

7.     To explicate, debate and empirically assess normative visions of the world

Michael Doyle, “Liberalism and World Politics,” APSR 80: 1151-69.
Ze’ev Maoz and Bruce Russett, “Normative and Structural Causes of the Democratic
Peace.” APSR 87: 624-38.

8.     To comprehend, speculate, warn and predict:

Ursala Le Guin, “Introduction” to paperback edition of Left Hand of Darkness; and
Asimov, Foundation, pages 3-35.  In packet.

9.      To recognize and appreciate human limits

Paul Stern, “The Philosophic Importance of Political Life: On the ‘Digression’ in Plato’s Theaetetus,” APSR 96, #2, June 2002, 275-289.

    One page email thought question: What readings did you most like, least like, and why?

NOTE: On Friday, Sept 12th your ungraded paper is due on: “Why I came to Graduate School in Political Science.”   

:  Controversies in Political Science:  Activism vs Inquiry/Observation vs Measurement

A. Activism vs Inquiry: Required Reading:

1.     Max Weber, “Politics as a Vocation” and “Science as a Vocation” in From Max Weber. Packet (also, Gattone, Social Scientist as Public Intellectual)

2.     David Ricci, “Political Science as a Profession” in The Tragedy of Political Science Reserve

3.     Charles F. Gattone, The Social Scientist as Public Intellectual: all

Recommended Reading:

4.     Donald Hanson, “The Education of Citizens:  Reflections on the State of Political Science,”  Polity, 1979.

5.     Harry Eckstein, “Political Science and Public Policy,” in Regarding Politics.

6.     Alan Wolfe, Whose Keeper?, “Introduction”

B. Qualitative Observation vs Quantitative Measurement: Required Reading

1.    Lazarsfeld, “The American Soldier,” Public Opinion Quarterly, 1949

2.     Arend Lijphart, “Comparative Politics and Comparative Method,” APSR 65 (1971): 682-98.

3.     H. Bernard Russell, “Chapter 13, “Participant Observation,” in Research
Methods in Anthropology, 4th edition. Book Reserve
4.     Required reading in Perestroika!: Chapters 12 (Sanders), 37 (Rogers Smith), Anderson (31)

      Recommended Reading:

5.     Recommended in Perestroika!: Chs. 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16,

One page email thought questions: Write one page (or so) each on the following 2 questions:

1. What perspective(s) on the social scientist as public intellectual do you find most compelling and why?

2.Thinking about the debates over quantitative versus qualitative research, return to the works last week by Bellah and Putnam or by Doyle and Moaz/Russett – or both groups of scholars. After re-reading them, contrast the value of the qualitative approach of Bellah/ Doyle with the quantitative approach of Putnam /Moaz-Russett. Did the qualitative and the quantitative essays each present something useful (what?) or did one or the other seem particularly expendable (why?). What is your view of the qual/quant debate at this point?

WEEK FOUR:  The Epistemological Dialogue in Political Science

Required Reading:

1.     Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolution; all.

2. Moses and Knutsen, Ways of Knowing, Chapter 1

3.  George von Wright, Explanation and Understanding, pp. 1-33. (On reserve).

4.     H. Russell Bernard, Research Methods in Anthropology, 4th ed., Ch. 1,
“Anthropology and the Social Sciences.” On reserve.

5.     Donald Moon, “The Logic of Political Inquiry:  A Synthesis of Opposed  Perspectives” in Vol. 1 of The Handbook of Political Science:  In packet.

6.     Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972):  Forward:  Introduction; “From Versailles to Cybernetics” and particularly “Pathologies of Epistemology.”  In packet.

7.   Abraham Kaplan, The Conduct of Inquiry, Chapter 1 on “Methodology.” In  
8.   Bent Flyvbjerg, Making Social Science Matter, Chapters 1-4.

9.   In Perestroika!: Read Chapters 2 (S. Rudolph) and 38 (Jervis).
Strongly Recommended: Chs. 3,4,5,

10.  Stephen Jay Gould, “Spin Doctoring Darwin,” Natural History, July, 1995, pp.

One page email thought question: What reading(s) did you find most compelling this week, and why?

WEEK FIVE:  The Rites of Passage

Write the first graded paper:

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 Friday, Oct. 3, 5pm

Recommended Reading:

Donald Kennedy, Academic Duty: all

Harry Eckstein, “Background” in Regarding Politics

George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language,” in Orwell, A Collection of Essays.

George Orwell, “Why I Write” and “Writers and Leviathan” in Orwell, in Collected Essays.

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.



WEEK SIX:  Nomological-Deductive Knowledge
Close Reading:

1.     Carl Hempel, Philosophy of Natural Science:  all.

2.     Moses and Knutsen, Ways of Knowing, Chs. 2-6

3.     George Henrk von Wright, Explanation and Understanding, pp. 34-82.

4.     Morris Fiorina, Congress:  Keystone to the Washington Establishment, Part 1

5.     Lynn Kathlene, “Power and Influence in State Legislative Policymaking,”
APSR, Vol., 88, #3, September 1994, pp. 560-576.

6.     William Dixon, “Democracy and the Peaceful Settlement of International
Conflict.” APSR 88 (1994): 14-32. (Review Dixon and Maoz/Russett).

7.     William Riker, “The Two Party System and Duverger’s Law:  An Essay on the History of Political Science,” APSR, 76, 1982, pp. 753-766. In Packet

8.     Herbert A. Simon, “Human Nature in Politics: The Dialogue of Psychology with Political Science,” APSR 79, 1985, pp. 293-305. In Packet

9.     Putnam, Making Democracy Work, Chapters 2, 3 and 4

10.   Strongly recommended: Donald Green and Alan Gerber, “Reclaiming the
Experimental Tradition in Political Science,” in Ira Katznelson and Helen
V. Milner, Political Science: State of the Discipline.

Reading in an Exploratory Manner:

10.     Karl Popper, pp. 133-170 in Popper Selections

11.     Ted Robert Gurr, Why Men Rebel, Chapters 1, 6, and 10

12.     Neil Richardson, Foreign Policy and Economic Dependence, Chapter 1 and 5

13.     Joshua Goldstein:  Long Cycles:  Chapters 8 and 9

14.     M. Margaret Conway and Frank Feigert, “Motivation, Incentive Systems and the Political Party Organization:,”  APSR, 62, 1968.

15.     The Realignment Puzzle,” W.D. Burnham, Critical Elections and the Mainsprings of American Politics, Chapters one, two and seven.

Recommended Reading:

1.     Watson, The Double Helix

Email assignment: What do you see as the most compelling argument/exemplar for N/D analysis?

WEEK SEVEN:  Formal Analysis of Politics

Close Reading:

1.     Paul Diesing, Patterns of Discovery in the Social Sciences, 1971, pp. 29-133.

2.     Anthony Downs, “An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy,” Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 65, 1957, 00. 135-150. In Packet

3.     Norman Frolich, Joe Oppenheimer, Jeffrey Smith and Oran Young, “A Test of Downsian Voter Rationality: 1964 Presidential Voting,” APSR, 1978 Vol 72, 178-197.

4.     William Riker, The Theory of Political Coalitions. Chapters to be announced.

5.     Lawrence C. Dodd, “Party Coalitions in Multiparty Parliaments,” APSR 68 (September, 1974).

6.     Adam Przeworski, Democracies and the Market. All

7.     David Lazar, “The Free Trade Epidemic of the 1860s and Other Outbreaks of Economic Discrimination,” World Politics Vol 51 (July 1999), #4: 447-83.

8.     The Logic of the Democratic Peace:

Dina Zinnes, “Constructing Political Logic: The Democratic Peace
Puzzle,”  Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol 48, #3, 430-454.

Badredine Arfi, “Causality a la Linguistic Fuzzy-Logic: Making Sense
Of Democratic Peace.” On Reserve.

Exploratory Reading:

 9.   Poundstone, The Prisoner’s Dilemma

10.     Brian Barry, “Methodology versus Ideology:  The “Economic” Approach Revisited” in E. Ostrom, Strategies of Political Inquiry, pp. 123-147.

11.     Bateson, “New Conceptual Frames for Behavioral Research,” in Sacred Unity, 1991.

12.     Olson, The Logic of Collective Action, Chapters 1 and 2

Recommended Reading:

1.     Robert Bates:  Toward a Political Economy of Development:  A Rational Choice Perspective

2.     L.F. Richardson, “Generalized Foreign Politics,” British Journal of Psychology, 1939.

3.     Model Building:  Charles Lave and J. March, Introduction to Models in Social Sciences

4.     Brian Barry, Sociologists, Economists and Democracy, Chapters 1, 2, and 4

5.     Critical Assessment of Rational Choice:  Green/Shapiro, Pathologies of Rational Choice; and “Rational Choice Theory” Critical Review, Vol. 1-2, Winter, Spring, 1995.

Email assignment: What does formal analysis contribute to a Nomological Deductive Perspective on politics?

WEEK EIGHT:  Evolutionary, Cybernetic, Chaotic and Neuro-Biological Knowledge

        Close Reading:

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. In Packet

2.     Riker, William, Liberalism Against Populism, Chapters 8,9:  W.H. Freeman Press, 1982. On Reserve

2a. Thiele, Leslie Paul, “Evolutionary Narratives and Ecological Ethics,” Political Theory,
      Vol. 27, Feb, 1999, 6-38; see also Thiele, Environmentalism for a New Millennium,
      Chapter 2.

B.   Chaos Theory

3.     James Gleick, Chaos:  Making a New Science, Viking, 1987, pp. 1-80.

4.     James Rosenau, Turbulence in World Politics, Princeton University Press, 1990. Pp. 3-113.

C.     Cybernetic Perspectives

5.     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.”  Packet and On Reserve

6.   G. Hardin, “The Cybernetics of Competition: A biologist’s view of society.”
Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 1963

D.     Neuro-Biological Knowledge

6.     Marcus, Neuman and MacKuen, Affective Intelligence and Political Judgment. All

For an application of their argument, read one of the following:

Recommended as an application in established democracies: George Marcus and Michael MacKuen, “Anxiety, Enthusiasm, and the Vote: The Emotional Underpinnings of Learning and Involvement during Presidential Campaigns.” APSR 87 (1993): 672-85.

Recommended as an application in developing societies: Leslie Anderson and Lawrence Dodd, Learning Democracy: Citizen Engagement and Electoral Choice in Nicaragua, 1990-2001. Particularly Chapters Three Thru Six. On Reserve/Goerings

Email assignment: Which of these variations on a hard science epistemology of politics (from
evolutionary to neuro-biological knowledge) did you find most compelling and why?

WEEK NINE:  Assessing Hard Science Epistemologies

Prepare your Second Graded Paper: “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 Friday, October 31,

Exploratory Reading:

1.    Larry Hedges, “How Hard is Hard Science, How Soft is Soft Science?”  May, 1987.  American Psychologist, pp. 443-454.

2.    David Braybrooke, Philosophy of Social Science, Prentice-Hall, 1987.  Chapters 1 and 2.

3.    Fiorina, Keystone, Part Two.

4.   Wickham-Crowley, “Winners, Losers and Also-Rans,”  Chapter Three in
      Power and Popular Protest in Latin America, ed. by Susan Eckstein.


WEEK TEN: Interpretation and Politics

Close Reading:

1.     Moses and Knutsen, Ways of Knowing, Chs. 7-12

2.     Clifford Geertz, “Thick Description:  Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture.” In Packet; and Charles Taylor, “Interpretation and the Sciences of Man.” Packet

3.     Georg Henrik von Wright, Explanation and Understanding, pp. 83-167.

4.     Schwartz, “Participant and Multi-Subjective Understanding:  Journal of Politics, Vol. 46, 1984, pp. 1117-1141.

5.     Read:  Katherine Bischoping and Howard Schuman, “Pens and Pals in Nicargara,” American Journal of Political Science (AJPS), vol 36, 1992: 331-50
Then Read:
       Leslie Anderson, “Neutrality and Bias in the 1990 Nicaraguan Pre-election   
       Polls: A Comment on Bischoping and Shuman.” AJPS, vol 38, 1994: pp. 486-
       94, and then read their reply.

6.     Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Campitalism. All

7.     Barry Schwartz, The Battle for Human Nature, Norton, 1986, Chapters, 1,2, and 8. In Packet.

8.     Flyvbjerg, Making Social Science Matter, Chapter 6

9.     Robert Jervis, “Theories of War in an Era of Leading-Power Peace,” APSR, Vol 96, #1 (March 2002): 1-14.

10.     Putnam, Making Democracy Work, Chapter 5

11.     Anderson and Dodd, Learning Democracy, Chapter 2. Book on reserve.

12.     Donald T. Campbell, “’Degrees of Freedom’ and the Case Study,” in Comparative Political Studies, vol. 8,2, 1975, pp. 178-193. Packet

13.     Leege/Wald, The Politics of Cultural Difference, Chapters 2 and 8. On Reserve

Exploratory Reading:
14.     Karl Lamb, As Orange Goes:  particularly Preface, Chapters, 1,2, 3 and 10.

15.     Anthony Pagden, European Encounters with the New World:  Intro., Chapters 1 and 2

16.     Goran Hyden, Beyond Utamaa in Tanzania:  Underdevelopment and an Uncaptured Peasantry.

17.     Richard Fenno, Homes Style:  House Members in Their Districts, Intro., Chapters 1-4, Epilogue

Recommended Reading:

1.     Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities

2.     Terry Johnson,, The Structure of Social Theory, pp. 73-113.

3.     R. Bernstein, Beyond Objectivism and Relativism

4.     Georgia Warnke on Gadamer

Email assignment: What do you see as the most compelling argument/exemplar for
    Interpretive analysis (leaving aside Learning Democracy)?

WEEK ELEVEN:  Critical Theory, Informed Judgment and the Uses of Knowledge

Required Reading:

1.     Alexander Rosenberg, Philosophy of Social Science, Chapter 7:  “Shall We Commit a Social Science?” In Packet

2.     Jergen Habermas, “Legitimation Crisis” from Communication and the Evolution of Society, Beacon Press, 1979, pp. 178-206. In Packet

3.     Karl Marx, “Theses on Feuerbach” in Critique of Hegel’s ‘Philosophy of Right’, Cambridge, 1970, edited by O’Malley. In Packet

4.     Virginia Held, “Mothering vs. Contract” in Beyond Self-Interest, edited by J. Mansbridge.  (Review Lyn Kathlene’s article, APSR, Sept. 1994). Reserve

5.     Flybjerg, Making Social Science Matter, Chapters 5, 7-11.

6.     Suzanne Dovi, “Preferable Descriptive Representatives: Will Just Any Woman, Black, or Latino do?” APSR, 96 (December) 2002: 729-743.

8.   Brian Fay, Social Theory and Political Practice: TBA

9.   Dennis Galvan, The State Must Be Our Master of Fire: pages 1-124, 164-

10.  In Perestroika!: Chs. 8 (Schram) and 9 (Laitin).

Exploratory Reading:

11.    Alan Wolfe, Whose Keeper, all

12.     Leslie Thiele, “Heidegger on Freedom:  Political Not Metaphysical.”  APSR,
      Vol. 88, #2, 6/94.

13.     Terry Ball and James Farr, After Marx, Cambridge University Press, 1984,
       Chapters 10 and 11.

14.     Cardoso and Faletto, chapter II from Dependency and Development in Latin

15.  Berryman, Chapter two from The Religious Roots of Rebellion.

Recommended Reading:

            James Hillman, Healing Fiction, Part one
            David Held, Introduction to Critical Theory, pp. 296-329.

            W.G. Runciman, Social Science and Political Theory

Email assignment: What does critical analysis contribute to an Interpretive perspective on politics?

WEEK TWELVE:  Phenomenological Knowledge and the Openness of History

Close Reading:

1.     Eugene Gendlin, Introduction to Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning, pp. 1-43, Free Press, 1962. In Packet

2.     Maurice Natanson, “Phenomenology and the Social Sciences” in Phenomenology and the Social Sciences, vol. 1, Northwestern University Press, 1973, pp. 3-46. In Packet

3.     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.In Packet

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.   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
      own ‘subjectivity?’

Exploratory Reading:

8.    Murray Edelman, “The Social Psychology of Politics,” in The Dynamics of
       American Politics, Dodd and Jillson, eds., Westview Press, 1994.

9.    Alice Miller, “Poisonous Pedagogy” in For Your Own Good, 1990.

10.   Peter Winch:  The Idea of a Social Science:  all
11. Barry Smith and David W. Smith, eds., Husserl, Introduction, Chapters 1,2

Recommended Reading:

            James Hillman, Healing Fiction, Part two
            Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind, Part VI,
            “The Transformation of the Modern Era.”

Email assignment: What does phenomological analysis contribute to an Interpretive perspective on politics?

WEEK THIRTEEN:  Assessing “Soft Science” Epistemologies

This week write    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 Friday,     November 28th, 5pm.

Exploratory Reading:

1.     A.O. Hirschman, “The Search for Paradigms as a Hindrance to Understanding,” World Politics, 22, no. 3, March 1970.

2.     Vaclav Havel, “The End of the Modern Era,”  Sunday New York Times, March 1, 1992, Op-Ed page.

3.     Braybrooke, Philosophy of Social Science, Chapters 3,4 and 5

4.     Max Black, Models and Metaphors, Cornell University Press, 1962, “Models and Archtypes,” pp. 219-243.

5.     James Farr (1985) “Situational Analysis:  Explanation in Political Science,” Journal of Politics, Vol. 47, 1085-1107.



I. Thinking Recursively: Epistemology in a World of Reflexivity and Learning

        Robert Jervis, System Effects
        Karl Weick, “Small Wins”

II. Evaluating, Combining, and Using Epistemologies

Close Reading:

1.     Abraham Kaplan, The Conduct of Inquiry, Chapters 1, 4 and 10

2.     Donald Moon, “The Logic of Inquiry,” review in packet.

3.     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. On Reserve

4.     Putnam, Making Democracy Work:  Review all.

5.     Goran Hyden, “Governance and the Study of Africa,” in Governance and Politics in Africa, edited by Hyden and Bratton.  See also the preface.

6.     Perestroika!: Read Chs. 6 (Shapiro) and 36 (Dryzek).

7.     Lawrence Dodd, “Political Learning and Political Change,” Dodd and Jillson, eds., The Dynamics of American Politics, with special attention to Part 4. Reserve.

8.     Anderson and Dodd, Learning Democracy, Chs 1,2,4,9: On Reserve

        Exploratory Reading:

9.     Terrence Ball, “From Paradigms to Research Programs:  Toward a Post-
Kuhnian Political Science,” AJPS, 20, 1, 1976.

11.  David Braybrooke, Philosophy of Social Science, Chapter 6

12.      Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind, Epilogue.

13.     Mark Warren, “Democratic Theory and Self-Transformation,” APSR, Vol. 86, March, 1992.

Email assignment: Are hard science and soft science epistemologies incompatible in addressing a research problem, or can they be integrated into and blended within political inquiry in useful and defensible (perhaps even necessary) ways?

Week Fifteen: Swing Week


Week Six:  Nomological Deductive Analysis

1.     General report  _____________________________
2.     Fiorina (Keystone)___________________________
3.     Riker/Simon  _______________________________

Week Seven:  Formal Analysis

1.     General report ________________________________
2.     Przeworski __ ________________________________
3.     Zinnes/Arfi_  __________________________________

Week Eight:  Evolutionary, Chaotic and Cybernetic/Neuro-Biological Knowledge

1.     Evolutionary Epistemology  ______________________
2.     Chaos Theory  ________________________________
3.     Cybernetic and Neuro-Biological Perspectives  ______________

Week Ten:  Interpretation and Politics

1.     General report  __________________________________
2.     Weber  ________________________________________
3.     The two Schwartzs_______________________________

Week Eleven:  Critical Theory

1.     General report  __________________________________
2.     Bellah/Flyvbjerg/Schram/Laitin______________________
3.   Galvan_________________________________________

Week Twelve:  Phenomenological Knowledge

1.     General report _ ___________________________________
2.     Berger __ ________________________________________
3.     Pagden  _________________________________________

Week Fourteen: Recursive Thinking

    1.    General report  ___________________________________
    2.    Lakatos__________________________________________


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 theories;
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.

Wrting Hints for Papers

I.     Principles for Composition

1.     Be clear about your topic.

2.     Choose a suitable design.

3.     Reassess and transform the design as necessary.

4.     Make the paragraph the unit of composition.

5.     As a rule, begin each paragraph with a sentence that suggests the topic or with a sentence that helps the transition.

6.     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.

7.     Use the active voice.

8.     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 form.

9.     Save the auxiliaries would, should, could, may, might, and can for situations involving real uncertainty.

10.     Use definite, specific, concrete language.

11.     Omit needless words.

12.     Avoid a succession of loose sentences.

13.     Express coordinate ideas together.

14.     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.

15.     Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end.

16.     In summaries, keep to one tense.

17.     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.

2.     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.

3.     Write in a way that comes naturally.

4.     Use your outline or design as you write; reassess it and systematically restructure it if necessary.

5.     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.

6.     Revise and rewrite.

7.     Revise and rewrite again.

8.     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.

9.     Use your pencil to shorten sentences and paragraphs.

10.     Do not overwrite.  Rich, ornate prose is hard to digest.

11.     Do not overstate.  If you do, the reader will lose confidence in everything that you write.

12.     Avoid the use of qualifiers, such as rather, very pretty and little.

13.     Do not affect a breezy manner, (“Well, chums, here I am writing another essay for the good ole professor.”)

14.     Use orthodox spelling (night rather than nite, etc.).

15.     Do not explain too much.

16.     Do not construct awkward adverbs (do not write tangledly, for example).

17.     Avoid fancy words:  the question of ear is vital.  Write in a way that sounds natural, rather than pompous or pretentious.

18.     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.

19.     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

2.     Organization

3.     Logic/Reasoned Argument

4.     Creativity and imagination

5.     Originality

6.     Appropriateness

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.