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The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations: Philosophy of Science and Its Implications for the Study of World Politics (New International Relations) 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0415776271
ISBN-10: 0415776279
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Editorial Reviews

Review

 In addition to providing a novel way of organizing approaches to social scientific inquiry in the field, The Conduct of Inquiry of International Relations makes insightful and provocative claims about important issues in the philosophy of science. At its heart, Jackson’s book is a powerful call for pluralism built on a diverse and inclusive understanding of what it means to do social science. The International Studies Association Theory Section Book Award, 2013.  

'Jackson has written a practical text that students can use to situate themselves and their works within a given tradition, avoid using certain language and techniques, and produce a coherent work without jumping from one paradigm to another. In this regard, The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations serves as a useful textbook for graduate students and junior researchers. It is a comprehensive, educative and ambitious work that could ease dialogues among scholars from various epistemic communities.' - Mehran Mazinani, Journal of Critical Realism, Vol. 11, 4, 2012

'Jackson’s book offers a lucid presentation of four traditions of research, illustrated with sympathetic discussions—but also thoughtful critiques—of leading exemplars. The conduct of inquiry in International Relations is one of those rare texts that transcends its genre as it constitutes an original analysis of the foundations of social inquiry. One of its achievements is to situate each of the four approaches in distinct philosophical traditions, and to explicate their different genealogies and intellectual and normative commitments.' - Richard New Lebow, International Affairs, Vol. 87, 5, September 2011

'The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations outlines a constructive and convincing path for getting beyond unproductive debates about the relative merits of the various methodologies that inform IR. Calling for a post-foundational IR that rests on a more expansive definition of science than that which is conventionally accepted by the field, Patrick Jackson makes a compelling case for an engaged pluralism that is respectful of the different philosophical groundings that inform a variety of equally valid scientific traditions, each of which can usefully contribute to a more comprehensive and informed understanding of world politics.' - J. Ann Tickner, School of international Relations, University of Southern California

'This is a book that will have a deep and lasting impact on the field. It displays impressive and sophisticated scholarship, but lightly worn and presented in an engaging manner, student-friendly but never patronising or afraid to challenge the reader. I know no better account of the various ways by which one can study IR scientifically and I am confident that this is a text that will be very widely adopted.' - Chris Brown, Professor of International Relations, London School of Economics

'Neatly framed, balanced, informed, lucid and, yes, important, this is the rare book I wish I had written myself. Not that I could have done it nearly as well.' - Nick Onuf

'In this vigorously argued, incisive and important book P.T. Jackson liberates us from the misplaced polarity between "hard, scientific" and "soft, interpretive" approaches that has bedeviled international relations scholarship for half a century. Neither approach has any grounding among philosophers of science with their insistence on the irreducibly pluralist nature of science. The immense value of this book is its accessibility and the intimate connections it builds between theories of international relations and their philosophical foundations – or lack thereof. Neo-positivist, reflexivist, critical realist and analytical stances can now engage in ecumenical dialogue rather than shouting matches or with silent scorn. If you are accustomed to worship only in your favorite chapel, here is an invitation to visit a magnificent cathedral. Graduate field seminars in international relations now have access to a first-rate text.' - Peter J. Katzenstein, Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Professor of International Studies, Cornell Universtiy

'Not only is The Conduct of Inquiry in IR a breathtakingly original and rigorous analysis of the scholarly work in the field, it is also an excellent teaching tool for graduate and upper level undergraduate students. By showing how ontological starting points lead to a variety of methodological options, Patrick Jackson opens up a broad toolkit for the production of knowledge in IR. His use of philosophy of science is both rich and accessible to the unacquainted reader, and brings to the light numerous misunderstandings, false argumentations, and incorrect presumptions that have become common to the field. As a result, The Conduct of Inquiry is both revealing and instructive, and a must-read to all who have an interest in reflecting on what’s actually being done in IR.' - Gerard van der Ree

'I must confess that I had begun to despair that I would ever read anything regarding the "science question" in International Relations (IR) that did not either founder on the Scylla of philosophical dilettantism or drown in the Charybdis of disciplinary obscuritanism. Patrick Thaddeus Jackson’s The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations has cured me of that despair. Skillfully navigating between the twin hazards that have proven fatal to so many earlier efforts, Jackson provides us with a pluralistic vision of scientific inquiry in the field of IR that is philosophically sound yet accessible to non-specialists in the philosophy of science.' - Andrew A Latham, in Review of Politics

'The book is very well written, and it does a great job of laying out its methodological taxonomy. It presents a lot of philosophy to an IR audience in a clear, concise, and accurate way.' - Daniel McArthur, in Education and Culture: The Journal of the John Dewey Society

About the Author

Patrick Thaddeus Jackson is Professor of International Relations and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in the School of International Service at the American University in Washington, DC. He is the author of Civilizing the Enemy (2006) and the co-editor of Civilizational Identity (2007).

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Product Details

  • Series: New International Relations
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (August 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415776279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415776271
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #946,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Jackson's book should be required reading for every graduate student in IR. It acts as both a primer in the philosophy of social science and as an unembarrassed argument against the unreflective neopositivism that continues to dominate the epistemological presuppositions of the field.

Jackson argues that, even when self-conscious about its foundations, IR neopositivism results from a misappropriation of the insights of Popper-Kuhn-Lakatos and from a yearning to be "more scientific." This constructed view rests on a mind-world gap, where "methods" build the bridge from subjectivity to objectivity, despite the fact that contemporary philosophers (e.g. John McDowell, Robert Brandom, Donald Davidson) have repudiated this scheme-content dualism.

Jackson exposes the fact that the overwhelming majority of so-called "methodological" discussions in IR, as within political science more generally, are actually discussions about particular methods for the purposes of achieving neopositivist goals. Thus, those who studiously weigh the benefits of "quantitative" verses "qualitiative" methods (and yes even "mixed methods") are doing so within the strictures of neopositivist presuppositions.

The book calls for the loosening of the methodological grip that unreflective neopositivism has on the field of IR.

Although Jackson is an astute reader of philosophy there are several confusions that have crept in. For example, in his second chapter he seems to have confused "philosophical realism" with "ontological dualism."

Nonetheless, his book is the antidote to the philosophical ineptitude in contemporary IR. It will be particularly helpful for IR scholars in the United States - where, we are always told, the center of gravity for the discipline still remains. Other scholars who are more familiar with philosophical modes of inquiry will find this book less enlightening.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a must for all Ph.D. students in international relations (as well as their professors). It is a brilliant work that provides much-needed insight into the schools of thought in IR.

Having said that, I'd caution readers that it is intensely philosophical; people should be well versed in philosophy as well as IR before tackling it. This book is for a specific audience.
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