"This deeply learned, richly referenced book should become both the Hollis and Smith and the Lakatos and Musgrave of the next generation of serious IR scholars and teachers. ...Colin Wight ... helps heal recurring epistemological and methodological lesions within the disciplinary body of International Relations." Hayward R. Alker, School of International Relations, University of Southern California and Adjunct Professor, The Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University
"No one in International Relations is more philosophically aware than Colin Wight. The 'ontological investigations' Colin Wight undertakes in this magnificent book give scientific realism the depth needed to make sense of important issues: levels, emergent structures, causality and constitution, agency and identity, states as persons. Most of all, he sets up the agent-structure problem, not as a problem per se, but as a map for developing theories and choosing methods. Even if he doesn't change your mind, you will have to rethink almost everything." Nicholas Onuf, Professor Emeritus, Florida International University
"Colin Wight's book is a comprehensive tour de force in reviewing and assessing the ontological underpinnings of social and international theory. Importantly, it also explains why a general theory of international relations is not possible. Highly recommendable!" Heikki Patomäki, Department of Political Science, University of Helsinki and Research Director, Network Institute for Global Democratisation
This 2006 book analyses the agent-structure problem and argues there are many gaps in IR theory that can only be understood through ontology - the metaphysical study of existence and reality. He integrates international relations theory with social theory, stressing the problem is an issue of concern to the wider human sciences.