PLS 370-A01

(post)positivism not parts of IR…philosophical terminology applied to politics

different scope of theories

  • General/Grand theories: more ambitious; offer a complete account of the phenomenon
  • middle range theories: partial theories; more modest, explains parts of phenomenon (specific problems)
  • Thucidydes: Pelop.W., explains nature of war and why it occurs: study of struggle for military/poli power.highlights factor of fear related to shifting balance of power
  • Machiavelli: focuses on natl security, survival of state being most important concern, how to attain, sustain & expand
    • ends justifies means
    • politics has own morality
    • deals with IS not OUGHT
    • separates ethics from politics
  • Hobbes: pessimistic view of human nature, bleak picture of the state of nature
  • Grotius: Law of War & Peace 1625: dealt with war, issues of national security. analyzed the different sources of intl law. known as the father of intl law. conceives of IR as involving both power and values (emphasized norms & values, so pluralists also consider him their precursor as well as the Eng. school
  • Clausewicz (1780-1831): served in the Napoleonic wars, Prussian. said “war is a continuation of political activity by other means”  focuses on natl security. considers military power v. important but subordinate to political goals

laws of war (jus ad bellum), laws in war (jus in bello)

  • Carr: the 20 years’ Crisis  1919-1939: explores the underlying causes of the impending war. focused on the role of power, how search for security may lead to more ambitious and aggressive ventures. however, Carr emphasized the significance of both power and values (morality, peaceful change). influenced not just realist scholars but also nonrealist scholars (forerunner of Eng. school, based on study of history, law, philosophy)

Variants of realism

Classical realism (Morgenthau, Carr, Arnold Wolfers) Dominated from late 1940s-early 70s

  • Morgenthau sees drrive for power as rooted in huan nature, structural aspects are treated as second-order causal variable of state behavior, human nature is deep cause
  • for M., political outcomes are a function of the attributes of the actors. egotistical nature of the state seen as reflection of the nature of people constituting it, insatiable lust for power — the will to power seen as innate in human beings and is the source of conflict in IR
  • logic of power politics, realpolitik, stems from human nature, traces conflict in international politics to humnan nature — assumptions about human nature cannot be tested — amoral approach
  • classical realists, balanace of power is not nature, state leaders and dipl;os play important role

Q: can this serve to justify/retionalize behavior?

realists treat state as unitary/rational actor

  • classical realists: pessimistic, negative view of human nature
  • IR = struggle for power
  • states will promote own interests
  • national security = power (absolute/relative)
  • hard power (military/econ)
  • soft power (“hearts & minds”)

true for all variants of realism:

  • unitary
  • rational
    • assumes that states know all means to achieve goals, then rank them cost/benefit to select optimum
  • national interest
  • national security
  • states know their own objectives
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