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Researching Politics and International Relations - Essay Example

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For this paper, I will be critically evaluating the idea that political science is analogous to the natural sciences and how far is it possible to ensure scientific rigor when researching in the politics and international relations disciplines? 
In politics, there are numerous…
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Researching Politics and International Relations
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Researching Politics and International Relations

Download file to see previous pages... 11) The idea is that politics is abstract in its character, with its ideologies and values, and could not be perceived by the senses. The positivist school identified this as the most important criterion in order for a field to be considered factual and, hence, measured, examined and analyzed scientifically. In addition, along with the abstract concepts such as aesthetics, political theory was relegated to the mere declarations of conflicting preferences and opinions. This perspective, however, changed with the emergence of behaviorism. Here, political science under the wider coverage of social science became scientific because of the systematic introduction of quantitative methods of analysis as the supreme methods of inquiry as well as displacement of the normative frameworks of political theorists by the development of the empirical theory. (Held, p. 13)
One of the most important arguments behind this school is the Aristotelian thought that man is a social being and human activity is carried on in a social and political setting. Political science, hence, studies, “inter alia, the chief theatre in which good men must act out their lives; and in determining the design of the theatre it will of necessity take an interest in, and sets limit upon, the type of drama which may be played out there.” (Aristotle et al. p. xvii) In this regard, Held also cited the arguments of figures like Thomas Kuhn, Imre Lakatos and Mary Hesse who stressed that science, as a form of human activity itself, is inescapably an interpretative endeavor, involving problems of meaning, communication and translations – variables that political science also covers. (p. 13)
Finally, one turns to Lyotard’s (1984) criteria in order for politics to be considered as scientific. For him, science is a subset of learning and that it is composed of denotative statements and imposes two supplementary conditions on their ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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